There is generally an assumption that the "specific purpose" of any movement must first be put forward.  Recent research and recent history shows that this is a mistaken assumption.

Instead, to accomplish any change the first step is to provide a forum where every individual has a voice, and the next step is to listen until everyone believes that everyone is heard.  This is the basis of the success of the Arab Spring: the belief that with democracy as a forum then every voice is heard.

However, #Occupy is rooted in the wide belief among people in existing democratic states that the voice of the people has been usurped by a minority.  In the U.S., for example, approval of the performance of Congress - the legislative branch of government - is at an all-time low of about 9%, which is 2% lower than support there for a communist government. 
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2011/11/16/congress-approva...)

And so, while the assertion of #Occupy that 99% of people support change has resonance, in fact almost as many people whom support change disagree over any particular action other than to return power to the people by simply reclaiming their own voice in democratic government.  This is probably why #Occupy grew rapidly as an expression of the rejection of any attempt by an individual or group to claim to speak for the people.  In essence, #Occupy is an attempt at a forum where every voice might be equal. 

Consequently, if #Occupy now focuses on putting forward any specific demand other than being heard, or focuses on defining a direction other than genuinely representative democracy, then it will likely destroy itself.  Thus, to prevent the splintering of #Occupy into factions  with different specific goals, resulting in the disintegration of the genuine movement, it might be essential that this movement first focus on development of a platform that facilitates every voice being heard, and next that it listens - that we listen.

One example of a universal platform that facilitates every voice being heard is the familiar tournament-style tiered structure, wherein small groups first meet to listen and then each sends a representative on to the next level to relay the ideas presented, etc, until finally one small group genuinely represents every voice. This final assembly might then propose actions that represent the collective voice of the participants,  followed by every individual involved in the process voting on those actions.

Any social network, such as Facebook, might effectively serve as that forum.  It might not be unreasonable to suppose that Facebook is the best existing forum because it already has the broadest representation of the global population.  However, perhaps a social network dedicated to serving as such a forum, such as Occupy Cafe, rather than an existing network that facilitates many unrelated groups, such as the commercial and "government" interests widely perceived to be among the usurpers of individual power, would be most effective because it would be less likely to engender dedicated opposition to it serving thusly.

The structure of Ning networks (the generic platform used by Occupy Cafe at http://occupycafe.org) can easily host the tiered structure mentioned above because it would permit establishing a category of discussion for each tier and a separate discussion within each tier for each small discussion group. This would also create a transparent and permanent record of all proceedings, and thus serve as a civil forum for all voices and a proof that every voice is heard.

I would like to humbly suggest that we consider this genuinely democratic path to reclaiming our genuine collective voice.

Kevin Parcell
http://reconomy.net

Views: 116

Comment by David Eggleton on November 29, 2011 at 11:15am

"There is generally an assumption that the 'specific purpose' of any movement must first be put forward.  Recent research and recent history shows that this is a mistaken assumption.

Instead, to accomplish any change the first step is to provide a forum where every individual has a voice, and the next step is to listen until everyone believes that everyone is heard."

It did not occur to you that provision of an ongoing forum for voices (broad sense) might be a specific purpose?  I think it is, and I think it would be unwise to aim for national and/or global voices hearing.  The foundation of both, as we've known and lately imagined them, is cracked and will crumble.  A forum per bioregion is my counterproposal.

Comment by David Eggleton on November 29, 2011 at 11:22am
Heads up! If you reply to Kevin's suggestion, you'll see: "Your comment must be approved before everyone can see it."
Comment by Lindsay Newland Bowker on November 30, 2011 at 11:06am

"And so, while the assertion of #Occupy that 99% of people support change has resonance, in fact almost as many people whom support change disagree over any particular action other than to return power to the people by simply reclaiming their own voice in democratic government."

This is really the heart of it all..this is as far as we are so far in agreeing on the problem ( and even there most still see it I think in terms of their own immediate personal crisis..my home is in foreclosure, I can't pay my student loan, I don't have a job)

I believe 100% in the process you outline and many of us here have been advocating that, encouraging that..building from where we are around  our own tables, at pot luck suppers, at community meetings where every voice can be heard and there is a chance for that common wisdom to arise, to speak.  Only when that happens will we see and agree on the actions needed to correct the common problem we all then see.

And of course all these small groups then have to connect somehow ..feed into a larger collaborative  a national and even global collaborative because we are not islolated and we cannot act in an isolated way..we can't just go back to our ancient tribal campfires. 

The work you point to is the work we have to do..

And I think that is the same work David points to.

We are all pointing in the same direction.

What we are missing is that connective process that is in continual interchange inter existence inter feedback with the entire system

I think we have to stay fresh in our hearts and in our minds on whether Occupy is, is becoming or ever can be that connecting tissue.  Our goal is to stay awake, be awake, keep others awake.  Occupy is not the voice of the 99%..it is only the voice calling to the 99% to wake up..stay awake, act.

Comment by Kevin Parcell on November 30, 2011 at 11:19am
Lindsay, please consider joining new Voices group where we will discuss and design a possible solution.
Comment by David Eggleton on November 30, 2011 at 11:54am

Kevin,

As we think about working with you, it would be helpful to know what you mean by voice(s).  Is it all about statements spoken and written?

Comment by Kevin Parcell on November 30, 2011 at 12:33pm
The name of the group was chosen by Stewards, who also own the group. IMO, "voices" is consistent with the topic "every voice being heard". I think only written can produce a complete and transparent record thats easily reviwed, which might be vital, but that's not say it's the only way to have a voice, and it's not for me to unilaterally determine.
Comment by Kevin Parcell on September 11, 2013 at 12:53pm

As we all watched the Occupy Movement erode, and as I witnessed an emotional force there more interested in opposition than support, which is of course the nature of emotional force, I returned my focus to alternative pathways.  In 2012, I began researching the possibility of creating a "time bank" as a tool for crowdsourcing support for all positive avenues to a future of sustainable prosperity - and by facilitating all approaches, even ones in apparent opposition to each other, finding a common ground that intrinsically disarms demagoguery.

My first approach to creating this structure was crowdfunding with a focus on identifying persons whom support the concept.  This was putting the cart ahead of the horse, in the sense that funds are a generic structure that first needs an organization to fund, and consequently I found little interest in funding the concept before broad and deep interest was demonstrable.  Thus, in late 2012, I established a discussion group and page on Facebook to facilitate networking support, and began organizing pledges of time, rather than money, to the time bank as a tool for empowering ourselves and each other to build a sustainable future, selecting a membership of 1000 as a goal, which goal was recently achieved.

With the help of an open and transparent discussion at our Facebook board, I've now selected the software and hosting service for the Reconomy Global Timebank.  We were fortunate to have the help of some of the leaders and experts in alternative economics along the way and through this final process.  The members of our Timebank are pledged to support sustainable development and especially at the community level, and the software will enable us to create and manage independent community time bank and currency systems.

The organizational structure of this time bank is democratic, and my own role as creator and caretaker will be phased out such that the tool works as a pathway for many visions.  My own focus regarding the time bank will be to support local currency systems that discount renewable energy when purchased with their local money, which is a project that has support from some of the leading progressive voices today as well as from many of the persons pledged to support this Timebank.

The Reconomy Global Timebank will be up and running in the very near future.  All are welcome to participate.

For more information, you can visit our pledge page at https://www.causes.com/peoplepower, our group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/peoplemoney, our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ReconomyGlobalCooperative, and our website at http://reconomy.net.  You may also email me at peoplepower@me,com, and I also subscribe to comments here.

Cheers,
Kevin 

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