Where are we at, what has worked well and what is "missing' now?

As Occupy Cafe gets ready to set up on the ground in Philly for #NatGat (and to bring the world there with us via Maestro, live-streaming and this website) these questions are crucial to our presence being generative and "leaderful."

I want our inquiry in Philly to be designed to meet the movement where it is, as well as to be at the leading edge of supplying what is “missing.”  In this regard, we had some interesting discussion yesterday on our C2012 call, and prior to that as well.  I am currently holding two distinct visions of where “the movement” (in both the narrow and the widest sense) might be “at.”  Call them the “everything is evolving as it needs to” versus the “this isn’t nearly enough yet” scenarios. 

“Everything is evolving as it needs to”

On the one hand, there is a great deal in motion.  People are awakening and they are not willing to settle for “business as usual” any more.  It is impossible to know the full scope of what is emerging, and we can choose to trust that is it sufficient and make our job be to carry that message, to mirror to the movement as much of what is working well as we can, and to create links (community) among those who are already in action to support and synergize what they are doing.

“This isn’t nearly enough yet”

On the other hand, it is possible that, while the potential is there in terms of people, ideas and the will to act, the form of what will really make the difference is not currently emerging, change agents sense this, and they are feeling desperate and cynical. They are tired, angry and in pain.  The “system” seems too powerful to be defeated.  The movement is shrinking and becoming more extreme rather than gaining energy and broad support.

Of course, it is probably more useful to see this as a spectrum than as an “either/or” and perhaps in some ways both things are true.  Here is my thinking in terms of conversational design based on this framing…  If we’re basically on track (“everything is evolving as it needs to”) our job is to make that visible to the movement and celebrate what is emerging.  From there, new ideas and initiatives can also be born, but that is not our main focus.  Rather, we are tending to the spirit of those who are engaged, helping them to feel safe and inspired and appreciated, and building community.  If things are not on track, however, the key missing becomes BOTH a tending to spirit/community AND the catalyzing of something new that can shift the dynamics within the movement and in the wider world.  The question that resonates for me at the core of this is the classic “if our success was completely guaranteed, what bold steps might we choose?”

Along the lines of “bold steps,” I got a vision yesterday that really inspired me.  It is outlined here.  The core of it is for a huge segment of Occupy’s energy to be channeled into the creation of “alternative communities” that both heal our broken neighborhoods and support our desire to move towards ways of living that are increasingly disconnected from “business as usual.”  This specific idea can be discussed in the Alternative Economy group here--let's use this thread to address the question more generally.

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I've met so many great creative people at Occupy Wall Street!

Some suggestions:

No violence.

Don't alienate Middle America.

Focus on peace and economic fairness.

Don't become the tool of the Democratic billionaire establishment.

My Occupy Song:

Those Goldman Sachs billionaires hissing and slithering

Engorging themselves while the people are withering

These vampires imbibe pints of blood ‘til we’re quivering

Sick Goldman Sachs you just suck


Oh dear what can the matter be

Oh dear what can the matter be

Oh dear what can the matter be

Sick Goldman Sachs you just suck


There’s lunatic reptile named Georgie Soros

He wants to he burns to entangle control us

And says he’s our ally but really not for us

Please someone tell Soros he’s screwed


Oh dear what can the matter be

Oh dear what can the matter be

Oh dear what can the matter be

Please someone tell Soros he’s screwed


Obama the President’s sparkly and starlit

He’ll soothe the fierce sea and perhaps he will part it

His promises broken civilians he’ll target

Let’s pop out another Peace Prize!


Oh dear what can the matter be

Oh dear what can the matter be

Oh dear what can the matter be

Let’s pop out another Peace Prize!

Yes, Jamspil--connecting us so we can all see how great and creative we are (and how many of us there are) is perhaps at the heart of what Occupy has done.  How do we build on that?

If our success was completely guaranteed, what bold steps might we choose?

Here's a GroupWorks card to inspire and guide our discussion (h/t Angel Kelly):


I wanted to let you know I have been inviting people to the Nat Gat conference calls like a mad woman on Facebook.  I know there is so much more detail, but I didn't want it to be any longer than it had to be, here is what I have been posting:

Most of us do not have the time/money to make it to the Occupy National Gathering in Philly, but thanks to Occupy Cafe, you can participate in community building conversations and make connections with people on the ground via conference call.

All Conference Call Times below are PST (West Coast Time):
• Saturday June 30: 7am-10am
• Sunday July 1: 10:00am- 1pm
• Monday July 2: 6am- 9am
• Tuesday July 3: 6am- 9am
• Wednesday July 4: 6am- 9am

East Coast Times: 
Saturday June 30: 10am-1pm
Sunday July 1: 1-4pm
Monday July 2: 9am-12pm
Tuesday July 3: 9am-12pm
Wednesday July 4: 9am-12pm

The conversation has already started online! Go to Occupycafe.org to join in the online forum, find out more about proposed topics, and/or sign up for the conference calls! http://www.occupycafe.org/

Check your inbox.  We finally sent out our main invite.  Meant to also attach a pdf flyer, but that didn't happen, so I am pasting it in below , and will also send it out in a broadcast message to OC.org members once we get the hotlinks active on it later this morning.

Christopher Wroth  writes above:

 It is OK to talk in a cafe, but it is just  an ego exercise until our loud protest matches our talk out on the street.

Ouch!  Now I get your energy here a bit better, man!  It is true that I sometimes feel guilty about my contribution to the movement being the co-creation of this Cafe from the comfort of my suburban home, rather than the manning of the barricades.  OK, I marched on MayDay too.  But still...

On the other hand, there are a lot more of us who do not want to be arrested than who do.  Some for reasons I think are fairly unimpeachable, e.g. people with criminal records, especially if they are on parole, or undocumented immigrants, or  people with others (children or the elderly) who rely on their daily support.

The simple fact is that for everyone who is willing to engage in civil disobedience and be arrested (or sleep in a park), there are tens of thousands (millions?) of potential allies in this fight who are not.  Would Occupy benefit from offering more ways for these people, and the organizations many of them are connected to, to not only actively support but actually be warmly embraced as being a part of the movement? I think more ways for this to happen (and more friendly invitations for people to engage in this way and be honored for doing so) might be one of the key "missings" for the movement.

I think so.  AND I really appreciate and admire those who are risking so much out on the front lines.  Your howls of pain and protest have helped galvanize the world.


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