NOTE: This discussion was originally classified as "hosted" but has now been moved to the "member initiated" category.  In the view of the OC Stewards, what is taking place here is a debate rather than dialogue.  In a "hosted" discussion here at, we request that balanced participation be encouraged and that regular summaries occur recognizing all the views being presented.  

While we have no objections to people using the OC forum to engage in debates, as long as they don't cross the line into personal attacks, such discussion is not what we are seeking in the "hosted" category.  

Ben Roberts

We are delighted to have Occupy Cafe member Mark E. Smith offer this hosted discussion on the provocative idea of an "election boycott."  

As "host," Mark will strive to keep the conversation orderly, offer regular summaries of the perspectives being presented and encourage balanced participation among all those who are engaged.  Here's Mark's initial summary:

An election boycott is the only known way to nonviolently delegitimize a government. It doesn't overthrow the government, it simply denies it the consent of the governed so that the government can no longer claim to have the people's consent. Among the many forms of noncompliance, such as removing money from big banks, boycotting corporate brands, withdrawing from the system and creating alternative systems, learning to live on less so as not to have to pay taxes, etc., refusing to vote can be one of the most crucial and effective tactics.

Thank you, Mark, for volunteering your services as "host!"

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What do you mean by "restoration"? How would post-industrial communities differ from pre-industrial ones?

"There can be no model" - but doesn't your meaning of "restoration" suggest a model? Can we "restore" a community avoiding restoration of it's members identity?

So much remains to be seen; I cannot predict what sort of factors fading/distorted remains and memories of the industrial and fossil-fueled era will be.  I'm for the quality of wholeness, not a model per se.

It was sloppy to use the term restoration.

I think restoration is appropriate in several senses.

Jitendra Darling posted about a successful model in Sri Lanka:

For that to work here, we'd need to restore community. I think maybe the current economic crisis may help because parents who can no longer afford to survive on their own move in with their kids, and adult children who can't afford to move out stay with their parents, so we have the beginning of the restoration of the extended family. Nuclear families living in suburbs can't be said to be communities as they rarely interact with each other. And when extended families living in close proximity have learned, of necessity, to share the burden of providing for themselves, they're likely to join with other extended families going through the same things, and voila! A community! 

In another sense, some post-industrial communities might not differ much from pre-industrial communities, if they were organized along sustainable and cooperative models.

Certainly nature has to be restored if the planet is to survive.

And, of course, I believe that autonomy and self-sufficiency have to be restored rather than allowing centralized government to outlaw any and all attempts at remediating corporate depredation.

I also think that democracy has to be restored, in the sense that the Founders and their Declaration of Independence envisioned it, with equality for all and the right of the people to ensure their own safety and security where government fails or even prohibits doing so. If not for state and federal intervention on behalf of the 1%, the old New England Town Hall Meetings, which used to be an exercise of direct democracy, could be restored and local decisions could be made locally.

While it would be a mistake to retain or restore any model that has led or would inevitably lead to the continuation and exacerbation of our current predicament, some things, like nature and democracy, need to be restored. But I agree that's the wrong word, because both nature and democracy are natural and only need to be allowed to restore themselves. We need to get rid of models like capitalism that prevent nature and democracy from operating naturally. And of course we can't predict what form new models will take.

But I agree with you, David, that not having a single model doesn't mean that we're on our own. In fact I find it strange that some of the people who have expressed a fear of Communism, which is centralized government, insist that there must be a single model of centralized government. 

"...nature and democracy need to be restored."

The nature is not democratic - it is a fight for survival and natural selection. One of our needs is to belong (to the tribe), exile is the worst punishment. The tribal hierarchy is substantial for the tribe to sustain, for its members to survive and it has not much in common with democracy.

"...insist that there must be a single model of centralized government."

Is there any reason to limit the meaning of the word "model" to political power distribution? Can't we for example model the process of consciousness development, leading to current state of our personal beliefs, shaping our decisions ( vote or not to vote?)

Yeah, I too wondered about that. How is democracy natural? I see it more as an evolved state -- and evolution is natural -- so I guess that makes sense, but it still means it's a rather new concept. We can't really point to early civilizations for a clear picture because apparently there were many forms of cultural and political organizing. The Hopi seemed to have a good thing going for a while. The Maori, not so much. The aligned nations of the Iroquoi (sp?) were apparently a mixed bag of democracy, republicanism, matriarchy, patriarchy, and other tribal customs, including torture when necessary. 

I am reminded of Temple Grandin's remark:

Nature is cruel, but we don't have to be.

I agree that democracy is an evolved state, obviously a human endeavor.  Life in a democracy need not be a fight for survival.

A tribal hierarchy is part of a tradition (a technology) that emerged from located interactions with all sorts of beings.  Individuals of such traditions see their respective purposes as sustaining those traditions, according to their gifts.  This uniformity of purpose is often taken by outsiders for the effective deletion of individuality.

It is conceivable that democracy with a particular focus/function could coexist with it.

RE: Victoras Comment "democracy" not natural..irquois, indigenous peoples and other models


I would love to pursue this whole topic which i think is key and which I think we have danced around and pointed to in many diferent ways here at Occupy Cafe.   Perhaps as "Harvest Conversation????)

Tom Atlee, pre-Occupy , me and tons of other people have been looking at this in lots of ways..fundamentally questioning the roots of democracy its expression and the issues of this persistent  gap Marks question points to.

What has been established as democracy for all time since Solon's fist democracy in Greece was really "corporatocracy" at its heart.  We have been trained to look at ideas of free education, natural resources as existing in the commons,a commirment to any values of inclusion and dignity as the "spector" of communism..and socialsim.

And yet, more and more, free nations all over the world are breaking out of this box of dulaitic thinking, a box built and sustained by the plutonony, to re think "free nation" and its parameters..its heart. its purpose, its goals and including these values in new constitutions.

Between what we have, unrestrained "corporatocracy"., survival of the richest and communism, where everything is governed by the state, there is a vastfertile and so far unexplored ground where as a free people creatively co- heartedly we can  build free nations with constitutions that declare us as "conviviocracy's"..not excluding or even directing private enterprise but keeping its enterprise, its means and methods of production, its products focused on and arisng from the core innerstructure , the peoples consent, as permamnetly expressed in its constitution.

This is the new evolution of democracy happening everywhere in our world and all these new constitutions express "conviviocracy" self governance fundamentally around the principles of stewardship for one another, stewardship for earth, stewardship for future generations..


Raw faith is the stuff of spirit in action. May the Great Spirit somehow come alive in us in time to lead us back from the edge. 

David (quoting  Temple Grandin):

Nature is cruel, but we don't have to be.


Sometimes we can't defeat evil because it is stronger than we are.


The systems we seek to transform are held in place by something vast and powerful below our awareness, our own individual and collective subconscious.

I am an outsider highly motivated to join the discussion at OC. Can anybody help me understand what are you discussing? What is the general topic? Is it somehow interconnected with reality? Do knowledge and logic play any role? Does it aim at doable and common vision of solution?  Or at least a holistic, systemic and dynamic vision of problem?

Hi Pawel,


Yes, the format and organization at OC is  sometimes difficult to follow and connect with and this thread, in particular, has been all over the map but actually for me  it has been very frutiful.

Many of the references you found puzzling or queried come from many many different conversations here at OC..happy to fill in anything I have said that seems out of place or difficult to place for you.


Glad to have you here at OC



Hi Pawel. I'm in agreement with what Lindsay said. Welcome!

Pawel asked:

Can anybody help me understand what are you discussing? What is the general topic? Is it somehow interconnected with reality? Do knowledge and logic play any role? Does it aim at doable and common vision of solution?  Or at least a holistic, systemic and dynamic vision of problem?

We are discussing, with no particular priority, beliefs, opinions, experiences, knowledge, hopes, fears and more.  The topic is the mystery of turning a society (focus of some) or a culture (focus of others) to a new course (one where you'd hear it's the living systems, including the humans, stupid*) when those who wish to do so are not at the helm.  Reality, knowledge, logic, vision and the problem are to argue about.  Something might be acknowledged perfectly informed and logical, but deemed impractical.

Occasionally, one of us gets something across to another and the discussion goes up a step.

* A rewording of it's the economy, stupid, which debuted when Clinton ran against Bush, Sr.

Thank you - this is perfect insider's summary, confirming my vision of the movement (not only cafe). 

I hope I can get something across to others, I was anyway preparing to do it and your post is of great help.

I shall address integral vision and post it to "Integral informed perspective NEEDED!" - Steven D. Imhof's discussion 


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