Date posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012, 9:56 AM
From:Bruce Schuman Msg ID: 106226
A reply to:Msg. 106225 Posted:
Sent to all subscribers
Good morning. Thanks, Marcella, for your interesting and informed message. I'll go over some of the points you make in another comment.
Right now, I want re-post a message I just submitted to Ben Robert's Occupy Café web system. I worked with Ben Roberts for about a year, as we built up a bunch of things for the Coffee Party. Ben was running "Maestro" phone calls (a conference call system that supports break-out groups, questions, etc) -- and he's still doing that, through his Occupy Café project. http://www.occupycafe.org
Here's a thread Ben posted there, on "Occupy 2.0" -- a concept we used when developing the Coffee Party.
"What bold collaborative action might you lead to bring forth and evolutionary shift in the nature of the Occupy movement?"
My answer to that would be -- right now, the Occupy movement is important and potentially powerful -- but absolutely scattered -- and, it would seem, in some danger of collapse into the black hole of its complexity and confusion. The "InterOccupy" site barely begins to coordinate what this movement could/should be -- and, as far as I can tell, offers no innovative ideas.
There has been a powerful and articulate critique of the Occupy movement, by people who believe in it and want to see it succeed -- but the movement itself, or its leadership, if such there be, has not yet assimilated this critique.
I think we need a systematic, careful, well-organized process of negotiation that contacts every Occupy group or individual, and call them in to kind of agreement. This agreement has to keep track of details, and understand from the beginning that unity is not monolithic agreement. We have to build the capacity for constructive disagreement into the Occupy movement. And we need a stable, consistent, well, organized, highly enlightened approach that builds a shared vision and a core body of agreement by people who want to come into the movement for their own reasons.
Your second question is:
"How might Occupy Café evolve to support the design and testing of such ideas?"
My answer to that would be -- probably in a bunch of ways. First of all -- what does this "alliance" or "agreement" concept mean -- and secondly, how do we frame it -- and third, where does it live -- where does it exist...?
Just speaking for myself -- I can simply say that I just don't have the resources to spend large amounts of time on conversations that cannot lead to stable constructive results. I spent two years exploring all of this -- and that part of my personal learning curve is pretty-much behind me. I don't have the time to talk endlessly with people I don't know, trying to present complex ideas they never heard of through a medium that does not have the right kind of bandwidth for significant multi-part new ideas.
We need a simple and somewhat formal process of engagement -- into a stable and consistent evolving framework, that builds on the input everybody brings -- but does not collapse on a daily or hourly basis into a "start all over again" approach. We build something together, yes, and everybody has a voice, yes -- but we don't toss out what we did because a new person wanders into the room.
If we don't do this -- the "conversational approach to revolution" is a lost cause. We need a way to build together, in a way that does not fall apart. And yes, this somewhat flies in the face of some Occupy thinking -- that I believe is naive and unworkable. So, be gentle, be patient, be kind, listen carefully -- and build something stable. Build an agreement. Negotiate an agreement -- that interconnects every person and every organization that wants to have impact. This is bottom-up, yes -- but it is also top-down. Bottom-up alone does not work, cannot work, and never has worked. How long is it going to take before our learning curve or exhaustion reinforces this lesson? Let's figure this out and get something done.
Having said that -- thanks, Ben. I think this place CAN do something significant -- and it might be more important than ever. Peace.