Please use this discussion thread to share anything that struck you about Michael's talk and/or the conversations it inspired.  Everyone's voice matters: please share yours!  

Richard Kreidler is a key member of Occupy SF and has been instrumental in negotiations with the police department and the mayor's office to allow the occupation to continue.  He is also passionate about the need to Occupy the Media in a way that gets the real story about the movement out to the masses more effectively.



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1. Similar public perception problems (hygiene issues/no message/"get a job") at all Occupies.

2. Missed a discussion of "Winter Hibernation" strategies, as in Adbusters memo.

3. Invocation's "faith" that world has "abundance" for all is questionable.

I'd be interested to hear more about #3, as one of the beliefs that I work from fundamentally is that abundance is really possible for all. I just think we need to make sure that we know what we're talking about when we say abundance. It's not abundance of material wealth that I am talking about here.

"one of the beliefs that I work from fundamentally is that abundance is really possible for all"

I represent a sort of bridge for you two, because I believe there is abundance, real and potential, from which the big inhumane system distracts most people and that the passing abundance of fossil fuels may reveal that 7 billion humans really is too many.  Only time will tell.  

yes, I agree, David. 

I think that if nature needs to regulate the number of people on this planet (that sounds a bit harsh, I recognize) I think that will happen ... or maybe it already is!

I was assuming a definition of Abundance as meaning material wealth. Like zero people starving and homeless.

Abundance for all is really a matter of Faith, like an Afterlife. It has never happened, it's way far away, it goes against one of the fundamental tenets of Economics ("distribution of scarce resources"), and it would seem to deny the significance of overpopulation.

On the other hand, the forces that support economic injustice seem to be the very forces that support disempowerment of women (which leads to high global birth-rates). Imagine if some sort of social movement eliminated both the economic-injustice forces AND the disempowerment of women forces. Then resources could be redistributed and the population stabilized. Then it would just be a matter of clever, innovative engineering and Aerin's abundance would be possible.

But this is all blue-sky talk, and right now my life is all gray concrete.

In the discussion I was involved in on the call today, we mainly talked about what the message is of the occupy movement. I got that, even though there are secific areas that we want changes to be made, overall we all want to taken into consideration in all the ways we contribute: economically, socially, and environmentally. We want to be part of the dialog, we want our economic and social safety needs to be considered when our governments make laws and take actions that affect all of us.

As one example of this idea: moving away from the verbage "demand" "what we demand" could lessen the "us against them" structure of our communication with the government and corporations. When we make demands, this implies that we are not interested in the other side's needs. People almost always fight back when we demand, rather than listen to what the other side is needing. What we need is to create an ongoing dialog in which everyone's needs are discussed and considered.

Thank you Suzanne. How the message is articulated - what languaging is used- will make all the difference if it is 'heard' by the masses or not. Something needs to be different about this movement - and the difference is in ending the polarities of us and them... and as mentioned during our call today, finding what is common - common ground - common sentiments- common needs and wants. Rather than bringing a list of grievances to our government, I support us bringing the list of wants and vision and innovative, creative ideas for the world we want. Rather than being seen as revolutionaries - how great to be seen as evolutionaries... and I also like what someone said about the camps being laboratories for demonstrating the new way to share and care.

Hi Julie,

I love your idea of wanting to be seen as the evolutionaries, rather than the revolutionaries. Having seen the kinds of results that come from focusing on more compassioante language, we well as the amazing connections that are made when we can see one another, not as enemies, but as people with basically the same needs, but different strategies about how to meet those needs, I am motivated to continuing talking about this as a way of moving forward as a global society.

Regarding the attempt to look for common needs and wants, one of the lessons I have learned from Nonviolent Communication is: whenever you begin a meeting on any subject, get everyone's needs on the table as quickly as possible. Rather than their strategies or their goals - what are the needs that the people in the group are trying to meet? Once the needs are on the table, the strategies will arise that will serve to meet those needs. Using this approach to meetings is also helpful when a new strategies is needed. By putting everyone's needs on the table each and every time an evolution is occuring, keeps the informaton current, and the strategies can then arise out of the current needs.

Hi Suzanne,

     We have started a group called Subtle Activism - there are 9 folks so far - perhaps you would like to join. We haven't yet met as a group - but I think it is an important 'energy' to be in the mix, and we could plan a meeting if folks want. Peace in all directions, Julie

There is a difference between Occupy Mission Statement, and the agenda of all the issues that are going to be addressed, through the Occupy Movement, by the participants.  From that agenda, the action plans will be derived.

Jacquelyne, Bob and I discussed the question: What do the encampments serve? What could they be? (or something like that)

Aerin: Conversation about comunalidad (see my blog post here) and how a local anthropologist in Oaxaca said that what the Occupy movement lacks is that actual common LAND/GROUND on which to stand. So I've had a lot of questions about the fact that the physical ground that the occupiers are on right now is actually not (and probably won't soon be) commonly owned land. How does occupy find that ground?

Jacqueline: Very involved in the movement of the Global Commons. What's the territory that is not public and not private? What belongs to all of us? We (maybe just in the U.S. -aerin's interjection) have never taken the time to define it to protect it. What are the commons in the U.S? How do we "take back" what truly belongs to all of the people?


What are the commons in the States?

Aerin: I think that so far the encampments have offered people a chance to come together, face-to-face, with one another and connect with people very very different from us. This groundness in a clear, fixed place has really given the movement the strength that it has needed to continue. But it's feeling like 2.0 of the encampments are really needed now.

Jacquelyne: We need the face-to-face needs to be balanced with our myriad of virtual relationships. The encampments have created this possibility. Technology is never going to substitute our person-to-person real live connections. The encampments offer another level of seeing the reality of humanity and seeing ourselves via those around us. In the future they could be an opportunity for us to really see the work that we have to do (both as individuals and as a collective). Could be a place where we can see our strengths and weaknesses (aerin: our talents and shadows). They could be mirrors for us.

Bob: I have a lot of questions about how do we pull these together in a way that is not threatening. It needs to be incluseive and for everyone - the homeless, the vets, the police. But we know that it's not good when we are dealing with people who are drunk or high at the encampments. We need to be creating secure space. It is kind of scary to people to have groups of people one doesn't know moving into your neighborhood. (Story of what has happened with Occupy Richmand - people are camping out on the lawn of the neighbor of the mayor's home with the neighbor's permission - check out

Aerin: So ... this makes me question a couple of things - yes, we need it to be safe space and a non-threatening movement so that people see how it includes them as well. BUT, it's also about moving out of our "comfort zones" and meeting with people different from ourselves. That's why I think that the idea of the commons and occupy encampments in these spaces that actually belong to the people is such an interesting idea to me ... it might not be on the neighbors lawn but we can really create the grounded experments we want to be in. We have to do this in a way that isn't about creating a commune or utopic society cut off from the rest of the cities and towns ... we still have to be connected.  Occupy is an opportunity for us to look at and take responsibility for the issues that confront us as a society (and in many ways don't have to take responsibility for) like homeless, addicts, mentally ill, etc.

Jacquelyn: Very interested in the idea of Occupy Your Neighborhood - how could these actions be happening in neighborhoods? Meetings in homes, coffee shops everywhere?

Our final thoughts were sort of about how the Occupy encampments could be laboratories in which we could try out "living the future now" (thanks Berkana) ... where we could experiment with relating to each other not only as individuals but also relating as the whole of humanity ... where we could experiment with new worldviews.

Okay ... that's probably enough for now. Great conversation. Good to meet Jacquelyn and Bob here (who it turns out I already knew ... synchronicity abounding!)


thanks for this, aerin.

This is the link to perhaps the most significant thing I've read on OWS.

Written by a committed anarchist at Occupy Philly, she frames their occupation as a commons.


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