An open space for global conversation
NOTE: this discussion is now closed to additional posts. Our dialogue on Occupy 2.0 continues with our Round 3 thread here: http://www.occupycafe.org/forum/topics/occupy-2-0-inquiry-round-3-1...
Occupy Cafe has stepped into the movement-wide conversation now swirling around the evolution of the #Occupy. This thread continues the discussion begun here and on our 11/15 Cafe Call.
If you have not already done so, please examine the Mind Map produced with prodigious effort by OC Member Ellen Friedman, attached. We want this conversation to build and evolve, so this kind of harvesting is invaluable.
We offered these questions as the second round of our inquiry commenced:
Please note that this is a hosted discussion. We will periodically be asking people to step back or step up, to make sure it is balanced and there is space for all voices to be heard. We will also ask that side conversations that emerge be taken onto new discussion threads so that this core conversation remains focused and readable. Thank you in advance for your help with this!
Replies are closed for this discussion.
The other document is public, too, thankfully!
Michael Moore on Where Do We Go From Here.a proposal and vision
The vision and the proposal are two separate things, although Moore has cleverly tried to connect them.
The vision is the result of an OWS NYC working group that Michael Moore apparently attended only once. The working group consensed on the vision and will present it to the NYC GA for consensus. It is an excellent statement and I believe that it will be consensed on.
The list of demands "10 Things We [sic] Want," originated solely with Moore and was submitted as a proposal to the working group. They did not vote on it or consense on it and I sincerely doubt that they will.
Moore knows less than you do, Raffi, about how difficult it is to get a Constitutional Amendment ratified, and seems to have the misconception that it is possible for people to do it without the consent of Congress.
As for his other wants/demands, they are a transparent attempt on Moore's part to co-opt the Occupy movement for the Democrats by making demands that only Congress could accomplish, so that Occupiers could be tricked into supporting Democrats for Congress as being the most likely (in reality, not at all likely) to listen to Moore's whines. If Occupy NYC remains nonpolitical, they won't fall for it. I don't think that the working group he made his proposal to will consense on it or present it to the GA.
There's a big difference between WE's and WANTs! http://www.aunitedworld.net/99/news/view/171649/
In the 11/22 Occupy Cafe discussion, I contributed to a discussion on what the Occupy movements stand for. In addition to a major theme of attacking inequity and the excess power of large corporations/banks, I said I thought the message included a critique of consumerism in our society. I don't think people on the call really agreed.
I would point out that many claim www.adbusters.org/ sparked the Occupy movement. Their headline today is "The Big Ideas of 2012, The End of the Consumerist Model, A political and economic imperative" and shows an occupy protester.
I see young people giving up ordinary comforts (housing, heat etc) to live in the cold and rain for ideals that they hope will change the world. I think many see our consumeristic system as bankrupt.
The Huffington Post has an article about this today - Occupy Wall Street Takes On Black Friday Amid Skepticism - www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/24/occupy-wall-street-black-friday_n...
See also the USA today article - www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/story/2011-11-23/Occupy-Bl... "Occupy protesters plan Black Friday surprises"
Hi Ruth. If in that group, I would have agreed. Here's how/why.
I'm right there with ya, Ruth!
Peter Block--one of my favorite "deep thinkers"-- has written quite eloquently on the need for us to move from being "consumers to citizens," something I think Occupy embodies beautifully. The has implications on MANY levels, including our politics, as this excerpt from Community: the Structure of Belonging that I cross-posted to the "Consent of the Governed" discussion thread points out:
If what holds the possibility of an alternative future for our community is our capacity to fully come into being as a citizen, then we have to talk about this word citizen. Our definition here is that a citizen is one who is willing to be accountable for and committed to the well-being of the whole. That whole can be a city block, a community, a nation, theearth. A citizen is one who produces the future, someone who does notwait, beg, or dream for the future.
The antithesis of being a citizen is the choice to be a consumer or a client,an idea that John McKnight again has been so instructive about. Consumers give power away. They believe that their own needs can be best satisfied by the actions of others––whether those others are elected officials, top management,social service providers, or the shopping mall. Consumers also allow others to define their needs. If leaders and service providers are guilty of labeling or projecting onto others the “needs” to justify their own style of leadership orservice that they provide, consumers collude with them by accepting others’ definition of their needs. This provider-consumer transaction is the breeding ground for entitlement, and it is unfriendly to our definition of citizen and the power inherent in that definition.
The Meaning of Citizenship
The conventional definition of citizenship is concerned with the act of voting and taking a vow to uphold the constitution and laws of a country. This is narrow and limiting. Too many organizations that are committed to sustaining democracy in the world and at home have this constrained view of citizenship.Citizenship is not about voting, or even about having a vote. To construe the essence of citizenship primarily as the right to vote reduces its power––as if voting ensures a democracy. It is certainly a feature of democracy, but as Fareed Zakaria points out in his book The Future of Freedom, the right to votedoes not guarantee a civil society, or in our terms a restorative one.
When we think of citizens as just voters, we reduce them to being consumers of elected officials and leaders. We see this most vividly at election time, when candidates become products, issues become the message, and the campaign is a marketing and distribution system for the selling of the candidate. Great campaign managers are great marketers and product managers.Voters become target markets, demographics, whose most important role is to meet in focus groups to respond to the nuances of message. This is the power of the consumer, which is no power at all.
Through this lens, we can understand why so many people do not vote.They do not believe their action can impact the future. It is partly a self chosen stance and partly an expression of the helplessness that grows out of a retributive world. This way of thinking is not an excuse not to vote, but it does say that our work is to build the capacity of citizens to be accountable and to become creators of community. pp.63-64
In my view, perhaps the central and most compelling aspect of the Occupy movement is a rejection of the passive stance of the consumer and a bold and highly visible reclaiming of the role of citizen.
Right on Ruth, Ben (and Peter). I think the link here is more clearly seen when we think about being consumers of the life style, banking and financial system, and form of governance that the current corporate dominated regime gives us. The fear of many founders was that the representative system of government would make us consumers as it took away the right to participate in governance easy from the population at larger, giving it to "representatives." I think the crucial juncture for the Occupy Movement is finding ways of manifesting the taking over of our own destiny.
I think a corollary to this is the way we are pushed to make ourselves products to market. This is one of the difficulties I have with Facebook; it seems to teach people, including kids, that what counts is not who you are, but how you market yourself. I have been appalled to hear FaceBook programmers use the language of marketing products when they tell people how to use FaceBook.
And google and other collectors of data are turning us into statistical entities and feeding us what it thinks those imaginary beings want to have access to.
I think it's pretty frightening.
What is important regarding Occupy, I think, however, is articulating the big picture of consumption and not being misread as limiting our understanding of consumption as what goes on at Target. If it were as simple as that I would not worry.
Look at the "products" the Republicans are asking us to consume for president. Go figure. If we accept McDonald's politics, that is what we will get.
I've started a community edited draft of the Declaration of Occupy Portland. It contains a preamble stating what I believe to be our core value (people over profit), and a 5 plank, 28 point detailed list of policy proposals to restore the American dream. I'll try to bring this into the discussion on the 29th. In the mean time, let me know what you think either here or in the comments section on the Declaration website, which is here: http://thedeclarationofoccupyportland.com/
It seems the first step should be comprehensive Electoral Reform. Robert Steele has been working on the Electoral Reform Act 2012 for a long time. It started with Nader, but has now taken on a life of its own through a round of wikis. We are planning the first conference call for the @ElectoralSummit on December 7th. The bill can be seen in 11 parts at www.aGREATER.US. You can rate and submit comments on each piece or the whole. Will anything change until the dysfunctional duopoly funded by lobbyists is ended? What a shame it will be if the energy of OWS isn't focused soon on a doable, winnable, piece of systemic change legislation. One that is likely to have supermajority support by design. At least 66 of the 99.