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Appreciative Interviews

Occupy Express Plenary

Creating Something Different

Date posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012, 6:41 PM
From: Bruce Schuman
Msg ID: 106526
A reply to: Msg. 106523
Posted: Sent to all subscribers

I was "Up with Chris Hayes" this morning -- early weekend mornings on MSNBC -- and one of his guests was Marina Sitrin, from the OWS Legal Working Group, who was talking about the May 1 OWS action -- and who said a bunch of things I thought were powerful and significant.

Marina described the entire OWS/Occupy movement in one succinct phrase:

"Pulling the emergency brake"

What's the Occupy Movement about?



OWS and all this Occupy energy -- according to Marina -- are a kind of emergency signal that 1) we gotta STOP, and 2) importantly -- we gotta do something different.

Her phrase:

"We are going to create something different"

She emphasized that point.

This is what I want to hear -- and this is the kind of Occupy Movement I want to be part of.

Yes, we can march in circles and protest and chant -- and I did my share last fall, marching in downtown Santa Barbara with some inspired leadership on bullhorn. "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out". I said it 500 times, flags waving. I believe it.

But for me, I just want to discreetly mumble -- I want to be part of a movement that is delivering a solution.

I don't particularly get excited about blaming somebody (though there is plenty of blame to go around), and I don't want to blindly sweep a ton of people I don't know into some social class supposedly deserving across-the-board condemnation.

But -- there IS something wrong. So STOP.

I get that part.

What I brucie want to see -- is something surgical and holistic and constructive. The fist-shaking approach assumes that THEY could fix it if they would only quit their morally errant ways. But the way I see it -- THEY don't really know what to do.

Inside THEIR framework -- the best that can be hoped for is some band-aid patchwork. A few legislative changes if we're lucky, a constitutional amendment if hell freeze over. And taking that approach, in my opinion, following huge effort and miracles -- those guys are simply going to call their tax lawyers and take another tack.

Band-aids ain't gonna fix this. I don't think so. This bucket is leaking in 900 places -- and the status quo people like it that way. They stay strong, we stay stupid, and we work for them.

Another segment on the Chris Haye's show was about "Why Nations Fail". The author's thesis -- is that the commanding power elite of these nations have no motivation to care for the people. He used an illuminating phrase: "extractive institutions"

Extractive. Like squeezing the juice out of an orange...

That is what is going on. They get the juice, we get the peel.

So -- I want to go with Marina Sitrin. I want to create something different.

I want a holistic politics that connects all the dots. I want to help enable a voice for 100 million people, to create an enormous friendly pushback against that orange-juice machine.

So, marching in circles and chanting is part of that, and it does make a dent. It gets the emergency sign blinking.

But -- I think we gotta do better than this. I think we need to hit 900 points on that bucket at the same time, and not settle for a few band-aids, and the hope that "they" will fix the situation if we put enough pressure on them.

Right now, this is where it's going for me:


--- On Thu, Apr 26, 2012, 3:48 PM PST, Bruce Schuman wrote ---

Hi People!

Good to see the new energy of OccupySB, and the promise of more to come.

The ice does seem to be melting, and some fascinating new things are emerging.

You all mostly know about new Occupy stuff, so I won't mention much of that. But from my point of view, as a New Vision organizer, there are some exciting new possibilities.

One small point -- is that has collected some serious open source databases for the national and international movement. I managed to wander in there the other day, and got one of those bad boys installed into this SharedPurpose framework. So, should the fever strike, there's a lot we might do around here to push our own perspective on the Federation of Occupy.

For right now, just to kind of break the silence, I thought I would just mention an emerging new project, intended to connect communities and activists around common ground.

We're calling it "Connect2012" -- and it's kind of a fancy thing, that creates an on-ramp for motivated activists, who can tell us what they want to do and what issues they want to push -- just by clicking a few fast clicks. This lets us know what they want to do, plus connects them to everybody else who wants to do those things.

Approached this way, this big noisy issue, about "diversity within Occupy", can be seen as a strength, because we bring together lots of different skills and capacities and motivations. The challenge has been to pull them all together into a single coherent force, and maybe this approach can help. Diversity R us. Diversity R good.

Here's just an initial flash on some of what is involved --

A "taxonomy" of issues -- that covers just about everything any activist might be concerned about. It's kinda like "", if you know about that place -- but it's not just environmentalism and bio-stuff. It's "all the collective forces for an enlightened new politics" -- gathered together from across the spectrum.

My own guess is -- this can work. And it might be a key to help maintain the broad appeal that excited so many people back in the fall, and put this emerging new movement on the map.

Here's some intuitive imagery that hints at where this is going.

Organic perfection meets circle meets scientific organizing meets GA meets inclusion...