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View Diary: The Squandered Potential of Occupy (240 comments)

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  •  Who gets to define "normal"? (4+ / 0-)

    And why?  Why cede that privilege to those who have declared so much which is WRONG, to be "normal"?

    Part of any movement for change has to be the commitment to look at our current frame of reference and question whether it is 1) necessary, 2) appropriate, or 3) desirable.

    "Normal" isn't a given, isn't a law of the universe.  It's a social construct, and social constructs can be CHANGED.

    •  My understanding is that 'wavy fingers' is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nowhere Man, Catte Nappe, cynndara

      adapted from the "consensus-building" protocols of group moderation - an alternative to the very legalistic and corporatist protocols of "Robert's Rules" which do indeed tend to reify hierarchy. SDS groups on college campuses have used silent "hand gestures" for a long time, since it is deemed less aggressive and disruptive to group dynamics than cheering and clapping. Such procedural options are actually quite fascinating:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      I am bewildered to find it (wavy fingers) so contentious. The idea that there is a "normal" way of organizing group procedure is laughable. As with everything, there are complex histories, and we tend to gravitate to what we know. It is troubling to me that such an intelligent community as Kos readers is so set on dismissing what we don't know. I've (previous to Occupy) sat among SDS college groups and was at first mystified and inwardly irritated that "they" were using this crazy system to organize the group. "Why weren't they using Robert's Rules?" I thought. After a while, it becomes clear that it is just another operating system. Windows or Mac? Good or bad? Small differences, big differences? (How dare these stupid people use icons, windows and pointers in their so-called GUI that show their lack of seriousness compared to our real work with command-line entry!)

      It is also a sideshow issue. The diary makes some good points about the reluctance to engage local and national institutional politics. Mocking procedural dynamics is not one of them.

      I'm hoping that a few of you wiggle your fingers in consent.

      •  People want what they know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        noise of rain

        It is not about people at Kos gravitating to what they know. It is about people in general gravitating to what they know, and if you want to create your own language and own hand gestures outside of how public and social organizations usually interact, you will limit yourself to creating what is just a tight-knit fringe organization.

        What also some people miss is how much these "invented norms/language" owe to corporate America where unusual norms and jargon are created specifically to keep others out as well as to serve as a bit of "ritual humiliation" of the members (see the Wal-Mart cheer linked above).

        I might also add that the reason these other gestures were considered less "contentious" is not because this is an overall problem, but rather because these fringe consensus-oriented campus groups tend to attract people with various problems of alienation and social anxiety and the like looking for a place to "fit in." But coincidentally, these organizations only attract personality type and, ultimately, the consensus-oriented passivity becomes an end in and of itself, turning the organization into a breeding ground of Geek Social Fallacies.

        Consensus-oriented, grassroots organizations in general (eg, town-meeting-run towns in New England) don't resort to these techniques, which have not caught on.

        We have models for organization, agreement, and decision making that we understand and can get to operate. OWS, unfortunately, ended up just serving as an outlet for the socio-political experiments in group organization that AdBusters wanted to explore. That's nice and everything, but save it for the sociology Ph.D. theses.

        •  I disagree. My larger point was that these (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nowhere Man

          are socially constructed froms, from which norms arise. Robert's Rules is institutionalized, but Consensus protocols are also well within reasonable normative behavior. Quaker meetings operate on another consensus based protocol. Your response gives me even more bewilderment about your focus on procedural choices which in themselves are not out of any bounds of reasonable behavior, and are in fact, well within a history of tried and true procedural options.

          The rest of your argument seems to revolve around Freaks and Geeks. Alienation, in our society, is normative. The rest - from the frat house to the US Congress - is the abuse of hidden privilege.

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