Occupying should be just the first step

Occupying is a means to achieve certain ends. Agreeing what these ends are is the second step. Developing strategies for achieving the ends is the third step.

In my view (from Occupylsx) physical occupation is getting to be a drag on moving forward towards the objectives. The Finsbury Square camp, for example is in a bit of a sorry state physically (ok, partly due to the wet weather). The economics work group is attempting to hold its twice a week meetings on site but even a suitable spot is hard to find for its two hour meetings.

As a movement, we said to the 1 % at the start "enough is enough", referring to the exploitation of the 99 % the 1 %.

However, imposing the consensus rule (too early) on the way the following stages are to be reached may be a mistake. You can not reach agreement on significant decisions if the majority in a assembly does not have the background knowledge about the reasons for proposing a particular action.

Later on, having reached a degree of familiarity with details of the various issues, consensus would be more productive of good decisions. Meanwhile, trusting the "goodness" various working groups (who may have spent weeks on deliberating) would be more productive of progress.

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Comment by Ben Roberts on May 1, 2012 at 8:04am
The "expertise" issue (does it have another name, perhaps?) is something that I have often noted as well. Our lack of trust in not only experts but also the media has left us without easily accesssible common ground on many fronts. Some types of conversation and action can still thrive in that context, I think, but others come up against some significant challenges.

Perhaps a parallel challenge has come up with the idea of affinity groups. Today's direct actions, organized in concert with unions and many others, will be a good test of the extent to which Occupy is learning to be part of a coalition, thereby taking advantage not only of the additional organizing value but also of the knowledge and expertise that is out there looking for ways to be applied successfully.
Comment by Janos Abel on October 24, 2014 at 6:41pm

Ben,

Just seen this two year old message from you. Not sure how I fell out of this wagon, but good to be back.

The issue is still exercising me a lot. Fortunately opportunities still abound for moving forward.

In my opinion it is a question of recognizing approaches that have failed time and time again, Here I have the union/labour movements in mind. So it may be the turn of the unions with their organizing ability to join Occupy but leave behind their fixation on wages and full employment.

The affinity group idea does seem still full of potential, only the range of interests seem to need widening and deepening--- to much concentration of saying "no" to what we do not want and not enough competent demand for things we want in their place.

The business world is full of techniques they use to achieving materialistic, narrowly self-interested objectives. We need to "steal" those techniques and bend them to our own ends.

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