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Let me first start out with an update -- by saying that I don't have a lot to say about my visit Sunday to Occupy LA.  It was raining off and on the evening I was there, and because the solar panels at Occupy weren't collecting a lot, Media didn't have power to turn on the WiFi connection, so I had to go to Starbucks to access the net.  The Resources Committee's problem with thieves and looters appears to have been temporarily held at bay through an informal security force that is with Occupy in spirit, and by the fact that the thieves and looters did not show up at Sunday's Resources Committee meeting.  The Resources Committee still has to figure out how to solve the problem of formal organization.

 Russell Simmons showed up briefly before the general assembly; I guess he wanted us to distinguish between that portion of the 1% who are the problem and between that portion that is sympathetic.  I never found out what he was doing to help.  

At any rate, I could not stay for the whole of the general assembly on Sunday -- it seemed pretty orderly, even if only some of the residents of Occupy LA were actually in attendance.  I wanted to visit a store in San Gabriel before closing time and get my Mom some chocolates, for which she thanked me profusely.  Sorry Occupy LA.  Mom is important too.

I'm also not going to say a lot about Saturday's meeting of Occupy Pomona, except that there will be a march and rally in downtown Pomona on December 3rd.  More details will be forthcoming, but please mark it on your calendars.

What I want to say is that the problem of security at Occupy LA brings up, for me, the problem of how Occupy Together is to be a "game-changer."   I keep wandering into people, at Occupy LA or on the Internet, who seem to think the purpose of Occupy is to enact some series of minor reforms -- a Tobin Tax, for instance, or the restoration of Glass-Steagall, or maybe the DOJ will prosecute a few banksters.  Or maybe Holder will lay off on the marijuana prosecutions a bit or maybe they'll stop fighting in Afghanistan.  I remember, distinctly, a confrontation with a know-it-all kid who told me we would only be building a "temporary" community garden in the land adjacent to Occupy LA, because in a year Occupy would be over and we would have "reform" to validate what we'd done.

Now, for the record, I would be pleased to see any of these reforms actually enacted.  Yet a few questions linger, because I don't really see how Occupy is going to accomplish anything without a game-changer.  Please see below:

1.  Do you really expect the current government to do anything on your wish list?  

The current government of the United States, as a tool of the 1%, appears to be impervious to redirection.  Congress is composed of millionaires; policy is largely dictated now by austerity planning.  In fact, the system as it stands, driven largely by Goldman Sachs, is about to make all of Europe suffer because it can't make Greece suffer enough to satisfy the banksters.  Do you all seriously think that a group of people whose lives are now tied up in legal games about urban camping are going to be able to reverse the trend in austerity while keeping the same people in office?

2.  Do you seriously expect the existing power structure to "right the ship"?

Let's take a few examples of where the ship is headed now so as to flesh out this question.  Schooling sucks these days.  The K-12 variety is dominated by an obsession with testing largely cultivated through the No Child Left Behind Act, a product of George W.'s friendship with the McGraw family.  The college variety has become a financial gamble, offering increased employability in an economy with no jobs as against student loan debts to pay for college expenses which have vastly outpaced inflation over the past thirty years.  Occupy is going to fill the legislators with a newfound love of progressive education?

The prisons are overflowing, because recidivism is big and the laws are punitive.  Our current crop of politicians, inspired by Occupy, is going to risk being "soft on crime" in order to do something proactive about it?

Our government spends its money on useless wars because the Pentagon represents defense corporations who can use the money to fatten the portfolios paraded by investment bankers in front of their clients. They define "national defense" in DC; nobody elects them.  Occupy protesters are going to end their wars and redirect their money trough toward peaceful purposes?

Our current government has no policy on global warming at all, and never mind that the policies it has promoted so far are all useless cap-and-trade schemes intended to fatten the accounts of the financial class while doing nothing serious about the problem.  This is all going to turn around with Occupy?

3.  How would a transition back to electoral strategies for "gaining political power" accomplish anything at all?

I've seen some of these strategies promoted on the Internet.  Oh, we're going to run a bunch of candidates -- maybe there will be an "Occupy Party" or something like that.  They will magically somehow be immune from financial bribery, or maybe there will be public financing of campaigns at that point --- assuming beforehand, of course, that the current crop of legislators would agree to such a thing.  How are these plans going to be anything more than plans for co-optation?


Conclusion

Now, maybe you all have an answer for each of these questions.  Honestly, though, I think that the idea that Occupy is going to spill out into some sort of mildly reformist agenda to be enacted within the orbit of the current system is based upon a misidentification of what the Occupy movement really is.  People occupy public space and redirect it toward protest purposes in order to publicize what's wrong with the current system, yes, but this doesn't mean that small-time, incremental reforms are going to end the protests and solve the problems.  Solutions come out of the effort to keep the Occupiers going -- if there are to be protests, there has to be a protest infrastructure.  So the Occupiers are inevitably going to turn to "green" solutions to infrastructure problems.  If the food runs out, they will grow food.  If they can't afford traditional sanitation, there will be compost toilets.  "Green" solutions to infrastructure problems open up the possibility that Occupy will replace the current, dysfunctional society with a new society based upon hope and open to love.  

Thus I see the real strength of the Occupy movement is in its moves to replace the current society with a new one.  It behooves me to wonder why we should end Occupy's emphasis upon consensus process and go back to rigged voting schemes that place all emphasis upon "swing votes" in "swing states" while ignoring real, serious blocking concerns.  The electoral process is a matter of who can raise the most money because the people who run it are its product.  And how is our doomed capitalist system going to provide for us all?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting. (4+ / 0-)
    Thus I see the real strength of the Occupy movement is in its moves to replace the current society with a new one.

    So electing candidates to enact reform is a pie-in-the dream, but "replacing the current society with a new one" is an achievable goal?  One would expect the reverse would be true.
    •  The point being made is that the "reform" (4+ / 0-)

      achievable within the current system is elusive and illusionary. Only a long-term overhaul will work.

      I would argue that the latter part is true but that there are things that can be accomplished in the short term. I wouldn't put my eggs in the electoral politics basket, though. That will take decades, too. We will never get away from a relative handful of swing votes that can be purchased one way or another on any given piece of legislation. Instead, if we focused on rapid growth of the Movement, which is only possible if you consider that strategically and then develop tactics to achieve it, we can directly impact the corporate world and its financial leaders and even get some concessions from D.C. But we would need to be ten, possibly a hundred times as large as we are today, and we would need to focus much more on both Wall Street and D.C. than we are today.

    •  DUH! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, Cassiodorus

      OUR 'doomed capitalist system' is NOT going to provide for us all!
      It was NEVER intended to!    It is ANTITHETICAL!
      DUH!  In a capitolist economic system most all productive assets are held by private owners!

      "The despotism of capital over labour is the condition of their own parasitical existence" - Karl Marx
                                      ! Power to The People !

    •  assuming that you agree that change is needed... (4+ / 0-)

      and you look at the alternatives as to who can provide it:

      a) the current 1% dominated system that is only interested in enriching and perpetuating itself, or,

      b) you and a large, growing group of highly-motivated, creative people engaged with each other in a peer process of actually trying to work this stuff out and make the world better for yourselves...

      which do you choose?

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:04:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem with your thesis... (9+ / 0-)

    ...is that you seem to assume that the fundamental structure of Occupy is capable of scaling up.

    For example: Setting up "green" infrastructure like compost toilets is nice for a group of people camping in relatively low density in a public space, but how would that work for a high-rise apartment building? For a whole city? Do you use the existing sewage systems and just transport waste to a large composting center? If so, who's the poor sap who's stuck living near that?

    You seem to presume that a consensus-based process scales up—but I've seen no credible evidence or workable plan yet that suggests to me that it would be capable of governing a nation of 350 million people. At some point, a governance structure is going to make decisions that some people strongly disagree with, if for no other reason than that people have incompatible desires; "block and leave" works for a little #Occupy camp, but is a recipe for disaster with a nation.

    Are you suggesting that the national structure itself is unsustainable? If so, how do you propose regional or national infrastructure cooperation (like the cooperation that makes the computer you'll type your response on, the dependable electricity that powers it, and the internet over which the electrons travel possible) to create global solutions or solve global problems like climate change? If the polluters can just block and leave, how do you get them to improve?

    Maybe you've got a solution for the scale problem—but if so, I don't see it in evidence here.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 06:33:30 AM PST

    •  I see consensus rule as disastrous (5+ / 0-)

      Look whats happeneing in Congress----almost complete gridlock and thats a form of consensus government.
      You HAVE t elect representatives at the level of governing 300 milllion people. You just can't have that many people having to vote on that many issues.
      So whatever agenda OWS comes up with, if they do, its going to have to at some point start trying to get candidates loyal to them elected. Thats what the Tea Party does and thats why theyre a threat. (to good governance)  Until ows does that they won't be so much.

      OWS seems to be a Rorshach test---whatever you see in it is what it is. With no leaders and no agendas, whatever anyone ccalls it is what it is.
      The message, whatever it is, is getting too diffused. I think the best tactic they could do is stop trying to take eveything and focus----what really started getting attention back in the Anti Vietnam War days was when they'd call a protest and 100s of thousands of people showed up. get your point across and everybody goes home and it raiises consciousness.
      With texting and all think how fast a huge flash mob could form, get its point across, then leave. If you really think you represent the 99% then don't piss off the 99% by making life harder on them..
      This all day every day downtown thing gets old over time. American people have a short attention span----capitalize on that by doing fewer things bigger.
      just my $.02

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 06:55:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh... (5+ / 0-)
        Look whats happeneing in Congress----almost complete gridlock and thats a form of consensus government.

        Last I checked, Congress didn't use consensus, but rather majority voting.

        "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

        by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 07:31:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  MAjority voting IS consensus (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny wurster

          There's a consensus that whatever the majority votes for will be the law. Thats already established.  

          How  else are you going to determine what the will  of the spokescouncil/whatever is without a vote? So in your consensus government there is no voting? if so, count me out

          Happy just to be alive

          by exlrrp on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 07:50:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No. Consensus decision-making is based (3+ / 0-)

            on the premise that if everyone listens well and talks long enough, a decision can be reached they everyone will accept.

            I have seen it work. Frequently it is quite time-consuming. Hard decisions take a really good facillitator. Obviously it becomes more difficult and time-consuming as the group grows and/or becomes more diverse in attitudes, needs and goals.

            I think it is worthwhile for really important long-term decisions. To me, however, there are too many short-term decisions to be made to use consensus decision-making. Even in the future, we will need to place some trust in other people if we are not going to limit ourselves to what people can do under each other's watchful eye.

            The last thing I will say about it is that I think consensus decision-making requires a lot of discussion to determine what it will and won't be used for. Unrealistic expectations will result in hurt feelings, suspicion,  outbursts, etc.

            •  +1 for sentiment (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassiodorus

              Sadly, I don't think the U.S. culture would produce satisfactory results by that method in time to save our species from the long-term consequences of:

              Our current government has no policy on global warming at all, and never mind that the policies it has promoted so far are all useless cap-and-trade schemes intended to fatten the accounts of the financial class while doing nothing serious about the problem.

              I think the best consensus we may hope for is to direct a wave of popular public opinion into action as a response to some sort of future crisis incident.

              Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. - Alan Watts On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

              by ocular sinister on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 11:58:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  and now a super majority instead of a real one (0+ / 0-)
    •  It doesn't scale but it doesn't need to (4+ / 0-)

      As I've already explained to you, "a nation of 350 million" is not something that needs to have one big unit of government, or even really exist.  For the extremely rare issues that do need to be tackled together, ad hoc Spokescouncils of regional delegates can be employed.

      •  You still haven't addressed, though... (7+ / 0-)

        ...what a consensus-based structure, which doesn't hold out the notion of coercive power over a community that doesn't want to cooperate, would do about things that affect everyone.

        If the West Virginia consensus community, for example, continued to see burning coal (which is plentiful there) as a better solution for their electrical needs than, say, solar, what would prevent them from simply dropping out of any of these "spokescouncils," withdrawing their consent, and continuing to burn coal, sending pollution to surrounding communities and of course contributing to climate change?

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 07:13:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see. So... (4+ / 0-)
          If the West Virginia consensus community, for example, continued to see burning coal (which is plentiful there) as a better solution for their electrical needs than, say, solar, what would prevent them from simply dropping out of any of these "spokescouncils," withdrawing their consent, and continuing to burn coal,

          1.  Nobody is going to lodge the blocking objection that continued coal-burning is going to destroy our planet?

          2.  We're all helpless against West Virginia's SALES of coal -- the coal economy exists as an integral part of the capitalist economy, and so we must participate because we must have capitalism?

          Assuming the status quo is going to get you the status quo.

          "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

          by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 07:33:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If the WV group can just leave the GA... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            johnny wurster, Deep Texan

            ...and not be bound by anything it says, who cares who's lodging blocking objections after that? If they don't consent, they don't have to participate, right? And nobody can coerce them into participating.

            We're all helpless against West Virginia's SALES of coal -- the coal economy exists as an integral part of the capitalist economy, and so we must participate because we must have capitalism?

            Not necessarily... there are any number of things whose legitimate sale a coercive governmental system can either regulate or ban outright. We have very strong regulations on the sale of uranium, for example.

            A coercive government can overcome West Virginia's objection and tell them "tough crap, you're going to do this regardless of whether you consent." A consensus-based government can't do that, because then West Virginia will just say "okay, then we're no longer a part of this."

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 07:45:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  A consensus-based government (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe shikspack, shaharazade

              is not obliged to BUY West Virginia's coal.  A system in which the purchase of coal is hidden behind the operation of governments, utilities, and energy corporations, as directed by fixed administrative and owning classes, IS.

              Can you come up with solutions that do not assume the capitalist system beforehand?  I fear we are back upon the presumption that the people of West Virginia ruin its landscapes and mine its coal out of the pure collective joy of doing so, without any capitalist coercion motivating their behavior at all.

              "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

              by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:44:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, but it's also not obliged... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Deep Texan

                ...to boycott it either.

                So, if West Virginia's neighbor consensus community to the east decided they wanted to burn some coal for electricity or to keep warm, there would be no force stopping them from buying or bartering with West Virginia for their coal and burning it to their heart's content.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:48:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Have you ever mined coal before? (0+ / 0-)

                  And was it loads of fun?

                  I'd like to know what makes this example so compelling.

                  "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                  by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 10:51:02 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't see why you're stuck on the example. (0+ / 0-)

                    You know very well what I'm getting at—an activity that benefits the individual or the local community at the expense of the quality of life of others.

                    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                    by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 11:38:08 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The problem is -- (0+ / 0-)

                      that these examples do not just "arise naturally" -- they arise in the context of social systems in which people find themselves embedded.

                      "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                      by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 01:15:03 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  It's their coal; they can burn it. (0+ / 0-)

            So you'd need consensus to stop it, and presumably at least a large minority would refuse to stop.

            •  You're assuming, once again -- (3+ / 0-)

              the status quo.  What makes it "their" coal?  Do coal miners unearth the stuff for the pure pleasure of it?

              "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

              by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:12:43 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your assumption - your deeply creepy (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Whimsical, Deep Texan

                assumption - is that everyone would stop what they're doing and then only proceed on consensus that it's OK.

                That's foolish; the presumption would cut the other way even in your ponies and rainbows fantasy world where we're ruled by 90%+ supermajority rules.

                People would continue doing what they're doing - burning coal, polluting, pumping cows full of steroids, low tax rates, no universal health care, etc - and it would take consensus to make any changes.

                Since you'd never, ever, ever get a 90%+ vote on anything, let alone on any progressive measure, the 90%+ model of democracy winds up being a profoundly conservative tool.

                •  I've wrong-footed you again (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joe shikspack, shaharazade
                  assumption - is that everyone would stop what they're doing and then only proceed on consensus that it's OK.

                  Not at all.  What you're saying doesn't seem to evince a prior knowledge of the role of consensus in an Occupy, which is largely to determine what the whole group stands for.  The Occupies do not assume consensus to restrict the roles of autonomous individuals acting qua autonomous individuals.  It does, however, restrict the roles of autonomous individuals insofar as they are representatives of the group.

                  People would continue doing what they're doing - burning coal, polluting, pumping cows full of steroids, low tax rates, no universal health care, etc - and it would take consensus to make any changes.

                  To me, what counts as a "ponies and rainbows fantasy" is the notion that there is no CAPITALIST SYSTEM directing all of this, that "people would continue doing what they're doing" out of some natural sense of spontaneous free will, as if they weren't doing it for money and weren't being ordered about by corporations, governments, and so on.

                  What is being suggested here in this diary is a change in systemic direction.  The questions which I've asked the reformist Occupiers all have to do with this main issue -- how are you going to get anything accomplished without a system with a new direction, as the direction chosen by this system does not need your input?

                  "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                  by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:39:56 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Because they're the ones living on top of it. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Whimsical, Deep Texan

                Or are you suggesting that society as a whole should be able to come in and tell them what they can and cannot do with the land they're living on top of, regardless of their desires in the matter?

                If so, then you're proposing coercion—which is anathema to a consensus-based system.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:19:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Once again -- (3+ / 0-)

                  We're back on the assumption that West Virginia ruins its landscapes and mines its coal for the pure joy of it, that there is no capitalist system directing their behaviors, and that if we were to remove said system they would continue to do so.

                  How justified is this assumption?

                  "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                  by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:06:46 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  By "remove this system" you mean (0+ / 0-)

                    "remove the owners property rights," and you're not going to be able to get the consensus of the current owner in order to that.  Owners of property will veto any proposal to so.

                    •  Removing the capitalist system (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      shaharazade, cville townie

                      would mean a transformation of property rights, to be sure, but it would also mean removing a system in which the rest of the world is currently compelled to buy West Virginia's coal, and in which West Virginians are (economically) compelled to mine it.

                      "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                      by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:55:05 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Okay, so let's not use WV as an example... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...since the mining of coal represents a decrease in the quality of life of the people of West Virginia as well.

                    Let's use a different example. What if, say, the consensus group that lives at Lake Itasca—the headwaters of the Mississippi—decides they really really enjoy, for their own benefit or pleasure, some kind of object whose manufacture involves the production of lots of arsenic as a waste product?

                    (It doesn't matter what this object is; all that matters is that they're not selling it, but rather using it for their own personal enjoyment, thus removing capitalism from the equation.)

                    The Itasca consensus assembly decides that instead of disposing of this arsenic in a way that costs them resources to store or deal with, they're just going to dump it all in the river at the downstream end.

                    This obviously doesn't detract from their quality of life at all—after all, they've got no shortage of clean water coming from that nice gurgling spring right there—and it's a cheap way to dispose of something that would otherwise represent a drain on their resources.

                    In a consensus-based system like the GA, the people of Park Rapids, just down the Mississippi from Lake Itasca, would have absolutely no recourse or means of stopping the Itascans from polluting their water supply; at any assembly the Park Rapids folks called to try to get consensus on the matter, the Itascans could block the measure or just leave the assembly and no longer be subject to its rules.

                    Absent a coercive power, there is absolutely nothing to prevent the Itascans from choosing to put their own pleasure above the interest of the people of Park Rapids in having a clean water supply.

                    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                    by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:34:15 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The hell it doesn't! (0+ / 0-)
                      (It doesn't matter what this object is; all that matters is that they're not selling it, but rather using it for their own personal enjoyment, thus removing capitalism from the equation.)

                      Do people play with arsenic for fun?

                      "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                      by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 10:52:48 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You're avoiding the question. (0+ / 0-)

                        What is the consensus model's answer for the person or group who decides that their interest is paramount, regardless of the harm that does to the larger society?

                        How does the consensus model stop them from doing harm to others, without a coercive force in place to tell them that they aren't allowed to do what they want to do?

                        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                        by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 11:39:47 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The "consensus model" need not have answers. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          ocular sinister

                          Consensus process is a TOOL.  It's not necessarily the only tool.  Typically if there are agent provocateurs who are disrupting consensus just to immobilize the group, majority voting becomes a Plan B.  

                          Look, if you'd been participating in an Occupy, you'd have experienced this problem firsthand, and you wouldn't be asking me.  Obviously smaller groups can be formed to deal with specific "problematic people," and these groups can achieve consensus to act.

                          "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                          by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 01:28:16 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I think what he's getting at is: (0+ / 0-)

                            How, in the consensus model, do you deal with psychopaths as individuals or groups? How do you maintain "law and order" without hierarchy? By what method does the collective ensure that its decisions are implemented/adopted by others? What happens when they aren't?

                            Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. - Alan Watts On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

                            by ocular sinister on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:12:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  The answer to that seems, to me, to be a (0+ / 0-)

                paradigm shift of thinking about "ownership" away from a private concept to a more "we merely borrow what we have from our future" since we cannot take it with us. Without that change, greed and self-interest would still trump ideals IMO.

                Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. - Alan Watts On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

                by ocular sinister on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 12:09:00 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  not having read the rest of the above debate, (0+ / 0-)

          They should ask the polluters to stop their activity of their own accord and for everyone to come to a mutually-beneficial solution and alternatives.  If they refuse, the people affected by pollution have a right to self-defense, however I doubt it would get to that point if a global network (formal or informal) of acephalously federated unions/communities/etc replaces the existing predominant system (capitalism and nation-states), since there would be no artificial incentives (such as financial profit) to not work together for mutually-beneficial solutions and alternatives that satisfy everyone's needs.

      •  What you're advocating is something worse than (7+ / 0-)

        than the Articles of Confederation: a non-existent or anemic federal government.

        That may--may--have been workable two thousand years ago but humans have grown, technologically and intellectually, far beyond the governance by a weak federation of regional tribal councils that you propose.

        That ship has sailed.

        Now, the current system is also unsustainable. We cannot continue to exist in a society in which the 1% have 99% of everything, an the 99% have to share the remaining 1%. It's just not going to last and the only question is how it will be destroyed--by violent revolution or peaceful means.

        Those peaceful means include engaging the current system. That doesn't necessarily include acting within the paradigms of the current system (e.g. by participating in electoral politics for candidates, party primaries, etc.), but it does necessarily include democratic action (e.g. organizing to pass referenda or constitutional (state) amendments to reform the electoral process, including campaign finance reform). OWS cannot simply ignore that the government of the US (or other nations) exist.

        •  Omigod! (4+ / 0-)
          That may--may--have been workable two thousand years ago but humans have grown, technologically and intellectually, far beyond the governance by a weak federation of regional tribal councils that you propose.

          We've absolutely got to have a strong Federal government -- who else would force us into free trade agreements or impose austerity upon us or promote the corporate welfare or fight wars upon the world?

          "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

          by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 07:35:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  See that thing flying above you? That's the point. (4+ / 0-)

            And it went way, way, way over your head.

          •  Without a strong federal government... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            journeyman, Whimsical, Deep Texan

            ....there's no need for austerity, because there's nothing to be austere about.

            The austerity measures, with which I completely disagree, are proposed cutbacks in what the federal government is doing—i.e., it won't provide as much health care for the poor and elderly, and won't provide as much in pensions.

            Without a coercive central government, there would be no force compelling people to put 12% of their wage income up to a certain point into a fund that would provide pensions and health care for the elderly to begin with.

            You think a minor cutback in those things is bad? Then watch what happens when you dump the coercive system altogether.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 07:58:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Omigod! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shaharazade, joe shikspack
              there's no need for austerity, because there's nothing to be austere about.

              Society would vanish altogether!

              You think a minor cutback in those things is bad? Then watch what happens when you dump the coercive system altogether.

              'Cause everyone know that doctors can't heal the sick without coercion, and 'cause we can't have doctors without a system that forces them to pay loads of money to colleges.

              Feh!

              More "imagination" that assumes the status quo beforehand.  The human brain is versatile, so why aren't you?

              "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

              by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:02:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Have you studied history? I'm just asking, because (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                journeyman, Deep Texan

                a lot of what you're suggesting has been tried--and annihilated, absorbed, or otherwise mutated out of existence over the last couple thousand years.

                We actually have real historical data to look at and make rational inquiries about. We can apply our reason to generate legitimate questions to conduct a critical analysis of your proposals. Would you please address these questions with a modicum of respect instead of making sarcastic rejoinders and ad hominems?

              •  What you call "imagination"... (4+ / 0-)

                ...I call "utopian fantasy."

                Society would vanish altogether!

                You're right, it would.

                Society is based, in part, on the notion of the existence of some kind of coercive force, that can make people do things they don't want to do—because if everyone did what they wanted to do, the chaos we're experiencing now would look like a chess match in comparison.

                You seem locked into this presumption that human nature is entirely good—that under the right circumstances, nobody would be selfish or vindictive or hateful, that it is only the conditions of our society that lead to these behaviors, and that setting up a different social structure would eliminate those impulses from humanity.

                That is a complete fantasy, belied by even the most basic studies of human psychology and biology.

                Human beings, while capable of great acts of good and altruism, are also capable of doing great evil to each other not just because we're taught to, but because on a fundamental level, we are biological beings competing with one another as well as with our environment to pass our genetic material along to the next generation. That is fact, and any attempt to deny that because it differs with your ideology is nothing short of fundamentalism or Lysenkoism.

                Absent some form of coercive system, yes, society would break down, because the selfishness and hatefulness that inheres in every human being would be unrestricted, and we would be in a Darwinist situation where it truly was every person for him- or herself.

                Society controls and regulates that process, and makes it so that those other than the individually strongest or most capable are also able to survive; it compels us to put the good of the whole above our own individual desires.

                Society needs a coercive force telling people what they cannot do because actions that lead to individual benefit can often be detrimental to the society as a whole.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:17:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sorry, but this is a straw man. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joe wobblie, shaharazade
                  You seem locked into this presumption that human nature is entirely good—that under the right circumstances, nobody would be selfish or vindictive or hateful, that it is only the conditions of our society that lead to these behaviors, and that setting up a different social structure would eliminate those impulses from humanity.

                  I assume no such thing.

                  Here's a thought: if you don't know my background assumptions (and I've displayed a few of them in my more than 225 previous diaries here at Kos), you might start by asking me questions about what they are.

                  "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                  by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:04:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So how does your setting up... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Deep Texan

                    ...a "consensus-based" system like the GA as the ideal for society as a whole—a system whereby anyone could simply withdraw themselves from the assembly at any time and functionally leave society (thus no longer being bound by its rules)—square with your view of human nature, which you suggest does include the notion that human beings are capable of being selfish all on their own?

                    How would your "consensus-based" system deal with those who decided that their own desires were more important than society's, and chose to do things that were detrimental to the functioning of society as a whole?

                    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                    by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:09:49 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I assume, for instance: (3+ / 0-)

                      that one's conception of "human nature" is dependent upon the means by which one arrives at a formulation of "human nature."

                      This can be done by various means -- I suppose one could start by reading Thomas Hobbes' "Leviathan," according to which human beings, absent some coercive power, would descend into a bellum omnium contra omnes.

                      Or one could actually observe human behavior, in which case one would probably conclude (if one were intellectually fair) that human behavior is overdetermined by circumstances -- that in judging "human nature" through observations of behavior, one cannot by any intellectually legitimate means remove the influence of circumstances in one's reckoning of "human nature."

                      Thus the discussion of human behavior is largely about the shaping of circumstances.  If we are to have any say-so about how people behave, we would do best to start with the circumstances in which behavior is shaped.

                      Along with the radical behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner, I don't really see any special role for "coercion" in the optimal shaping of human behavior.  People are much more likely to do what you want if you give them something they like, or if "what you want" is in fact something they like to do for its own sake.  Aversive stimulus (e.g. "punishment") may get you a predictable immediate reaction, but in the long run it is not a very reliable tool in shaping human behavior.

                      As for not being bound by society's rules, such a thing is never going to happen.  There will always be rules -- get rid of the stated social curriculum and there will remain a hidden curriculum.  Nobody can withdraw from society -- as George Herbert Mead observed, one becomes a person by internalizing society.  The question about consensus process is one of whether or not the process is to be actively shaped by its members, or if consent is to be merely assumed through silence.

                      "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                      by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 10:15:17 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  It's a logical leap to go from "circumstances (0+ / 0-)

                        influence behavior" to "circumstances overdetermine behavior". Your corollary, that we must consider that shaping human behavior is largely about shaping circumstances, is therefore also a leap of logic.

                        Moreover your comment doesn't actually delve into the relationship between circumstances and behavior; it merely posits that such a relationship exists. I'd stipulate that this is the case (in fact, as a scientist, I'd insist that this is the only conclusion one may make if one wishes to conform to the observable evidence). However this is just the first step. The nature and quality of the relationship is something you never really explore. Instead you make an appeal to authority (Skinner) and a sort of extended tricolon which merely restates your appeal in different langauge but still avoids the actual "how" involved.

                        I'm not sure what your last paragraph has to do with the rest of your comment. It seems to me that it is essentially reinforcing a kind of semantic assertion (specifically, that "a person cannot sever from society") and then proposes a false dichotomy regarding the process by which a consensus is formed.

                        In summary, your analysis is lacking, as it rests fundamentally on an unsupported initial assertion--for which your only argument is an assertion that if one were intellectually fair one would agree with your premise, and is followed by an appeal to authority.

                  •  Utopianism... (0+ / 0-)

                    I do not believe greed is an essential part of "human nature".  Yet it exists...
                    All nineteenth century attempts to establish 'Utopian Socialist' communes failed miserably.
                    "In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all." - (Marx & Engels)
                    The realization of such a belief may take many centuries to its fruition.

                    •  Or it will never happen at all. (0+ / 0-)

                      We are the products of an evolutionary process in which individuals are pitted not only against their environment, but also against other individuals of our same species, in order to pass on our genetic material.

                      This is ingrained into who we are, quite literally at the cellular level, and is the product of a process that has gone on for literally billions of years.

                      It's a rather expansive view of human ability to expect that we'll be able to undo billions of years of hardwired genetic code in a few centuries.

                      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                      by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 11:43:03 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Dysfunctional? (0+ / 0-)

                        Problem passing on genetic material?  CIALIS or VIAGRA may assist you...
                        Genealogical DNA testing has rendered incontrovertible proof that the ancestry of ALL human beings traces back to the continent of Africa!
                        In effect, "All Men are Brothers!"
                        Don't believe it?  Then go get your mouth swabbed!

            •  austerity is absolutely necessary to maintain... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe wobblie, shaharazade

              our system of debt slavery!  our banks give us money in exchange for debt instruments meaning that we must pay them back more than they give us.  in essence every dollar created in our system mortgages our future to some greedy banker.  without periodic austerity we cannot achieve a balance wherein we could ever possibly pay the bankers back for their generosity in offering us debt instruments in exchange for fake money.

              i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

              by joe shikspack on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:16:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Your examples are valid, but good things (4+ / 0-)

            come from a strong federal government as well. Medicaid and Medicare, Education law, the EPA standards that are upheld, etc.

            Where I tend to part ways with certain assumptions of the Occupy Movement are:

            1) We are leaderless and leaderful. We are neither. There are leaders in every group, even if they aren't given titles or official authority or responsibility. Because they don't have authority or responsibility, however, they aren't, as a rule, as relibale or accountable. And they can find the process of having to debate and persuade every uninformed novice tedious and demeaning if not unacceptable. We are not leaderful. There are plenty of followers. There is more of an effort to encourage people to lead and more do, but there are still those who don't. Because there are only trace elements of a meritocracy, however, we have more leaders who lack experience or expertise in the area in which they "lead." This can be discouraging to those who have the chops.

            Consider this in the context of the G.A. Leaders would find attendance essential: they fill compelled to contribute and be informed of decisions and how they were reached. Followers, not so much. Yet at most GA's people come and go, even leaders. This says something about the nature of GA's and the lack of accuracy and clarity about leadership. It is one thing to hear every voice. It is another for everyone to hear every voice and put every decision into the hands of everyone, regardless of their knowledge of, expertise in or cognitive ability to understand the subject...

            2) All heirarchical structures must be abolished. Truth be told, occupations do have heirarchical structures of relationships. They simply aren't acknowledged verbally as such. This means you have to be around a while and pay attention to figure out the org chart and locate the unofficial discussions. I'm not sure this an advantage. I can understan the suspicion of heirarchies and systems that too easily allow the aggregation of power, but I think this goes overboard, which is part of the reason it is broken in practice by even the most pure practioners. Good people can be put in charge and trusted to do the right thing, though they will make mistakes.

            3) Strict horizontalism can be applied across the country. Not only will there continue to be serious logistical problems with it in all but the most selective, homogenous groups of like-minded individuals, there will be broad opposition to it for quite some time. IMHO, most people do not have patience for it. None but the most ardent supporters of the Movement's Cause--and not necessarily of the way it operates--are going to engage and stay engaged on a long term basis. Flatter organizations with checks and balances--but not a General Assembly review of every matter--should suffice. ANd they have to, because strict horizontalism will never scale and there are too many things--such as addressing Climate Change-- that will have to be coordinated nationally.

            I support and participate in the Occupation nonetheless because I believe the Cause is critical and the people have their hearts in the right place. I hold out hope that the methods will adapt to the task.

            •  Occupy is not using proper Consensus (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe wobblie

              I've written a couple Diaries about it which might help.  A lot of the problems go away with better process, which is a matter of experience and acknowledging the problem.  I'm not too concerned with Occupy being the end-all-be-all movement; there's simply too little understanding of the alternative proposed and prefigured by the Occupy movement.  That understanding, I think, is slowly propagating, so the next one might be.

        •  Funny you should mention tribal federations (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ocular sinister, joe wobblie

          That's precisely one of my major influences.  They were workable thousands of years ago (and, don't forget, still exist in some societies) not because of the low level of technology, but because the level of technology was basically homeostatic.  Now we're reaching the point where technology has basically peaked, so it may be a viable option again.  I see a lot of parallel (which I don't have time to go into right this second) between the tribal federation system and the anarcho-syndicalist system, which many people ~100 years ago considered the obvious form of organization for a high-technology industrial society.

    •  I've made "scaleability" point many (3+ / 0-)

      times both in occupations and online. I've either gotten blank looks or vicious attacks.

      From my own experience starting, growing, running and participating in organizations, both for- and not-for profit, the consensus decision-making model, while laudable in theory and feasible on a limited basis, simply will not work in larger groups or for the massive number of decisions that have to be made for an organization to...uh...organize and accomplish stuff. As much as I admire consensus decision-making done well, which is easier said than done, I would limit it to existential questions at their broadest.

      A few of things I have yet to see done well in the three occupations I have participated in are: establishing and maintaining focus/priorities, recognizing and enforcing good basic meeting hygiene (setting agendas in advance to allow preparation, especially for complex subjects, starting on time to value people't time, managing digressions, creating minutes, etc.) and organizing basic bottom of the pyramid stuff for a membership-dependent organization. All of these need to be improved dramatically in order to grow.

      •  Not a blocking objection. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack, shaharazade
        the consensus decision-making model, while laudable in theory and feasible on a limited basis, simply will not work in larger groups or for the massive number of decisions that have to be made for an organization to...uh...organize and accomplish stuff.

        It doesn't have to, nor does it actually do so in the Occupy model.

        "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

        by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:05:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which I guess is a where the disconnect (0+ / 0-)

          lies within the movement between those who adopt full anarchism and those who embrace a form of democratic socialism that is vastly more egalitarian and compassionate than corporatism.

          We obviously could debate the merits of each, but perhaps the most important point is that support for anarchism, IMHO, is, at a minimum, a generation or two away. Social democracy may actually be achievable, in stages, over the next ten to twenty years, assuming the occupation is employed effectively to coerce the government and its owners to do so.

  •  This strikes me as just so much moonshine. (4+ / 0-)

    It's of the "expropriators will be expropriated" variety.  There is never an explanation of how things are going to be achieved.  Apparently love and hope will win the day.  People tried that in the sixties.  The Reagan Revolution was the result.

    History is won by the writers.

    by journeyman on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 06:41:53 AM PST

    •  There is no Occupy movement doing it now. (3+ / 0-)

      Uh-huh.

      "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

      by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 07:36:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not anywhere near the scale that you suggest, no. (5+ / 0-)

        #Occupy's grievances, like wealth inequality, are being talked about on the national scale, and there is a national movement of people outside the #Occupy camps talking about solutions to the problems of wealth inequality and corporate influence in politics.

        But there is absolutely no serious, plausible, or viable movement—and no serious, plausible, or viable model—to do away with democracy nationwide or worldwide in favor of a consensus-based system of government.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 07:48:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Democracy = demos + cratein (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade

          i.e. rule by the people (translating from the Greek)

          The Occupies ARE ruled democratically.  The US, on the other hand, is ruled by a financially-ensconsed few.

          But there is absolutely no serious, plausible, or viable movement—and no serious, plausible, or viable model—to do away with democracy nationwide or worldwide in favor of a consensus-based system of government.

          This is Orwellian in its Newspeak.  Consensus is not democracy because only plutocracy is democracy.

          "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

          by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:10:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You miss a key distinction in "demos." (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Whimsical, Deep Texan

            Demos means the people as a whole—not a mass of individuals, but the whole of society as a unit.

            Democracy is not each person deciding for him- or herself what to do, but society as a whole deciding what it is going to do—and included in that is society's authority to coerce those who disagree with the majority to go along with the majority's decision, regardless of whether or not they want to.

            That is most emphatically not the model of #Occupy.

            A system whereby anyone can simply decide that they withdraw consent from a given society when they disagree with what it's doing works fine when it's a camp and when everyone is portable, but it's a recipe for disaster when it's a city or a society where people are linked to physical locations.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:25:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not buying it. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shaharazade

              Do you have references to show that the Greek use of "demos" means "of course not consensus based popular rule"?  This line of argument appears to me to be motivated out of an unjustified paranoia about consensus.  In real life people agree to (consensus-based) government because they recognize a (real) need for it, because people who do not recognize government need to be restrained from doing harm insofar as they are capable of (and willing to) do harm.  Do you imagine that, once they're not coerced into some static form of government which "asks" for popular assent in (fundamentally rigged) elections, that all Hell will break loose?

              "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

              by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:53:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ancient Greek democracy wasn't "consensus-based." (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Deep Texan

                It was majority-rule. Get more than half of the votes, and you've set the policy for everyone.

                There wasn't any "blocking" there—if you were in the minority, then you were bound by the will of the majority until you could convince enough people to vote with you that you had a majority.

                You are operating with a fundamentally flawed understanding of the history of the meaning of the term democracy if you think it was consensus-based. The people who invented the word used it to describe a system whereby the will of the majority was imposed upon everyone.

                If you don't like a system where society can, with the consent of the majority, compel people to do things they don't want to do, that's fine.

                But don't make the mistake of calling what you're proposing "democracy," because rule by the people as a whole is crucially different from a situation in which everyone gets to make their own decision about whether or not to go along with the group's decision.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:05:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  This isn't my assumption (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  shaharazade, ocular sinister
                  You are operating with a fundamentally flawed understanding of the history of the meaning of the term democracy if you think it was consensus-based.

                  I am arguing, au contraire, that democracy isn't exclusive of tools for arriving at consensus such as consensus process.  This is vastly different from saying that democracy is consensus-based.

                  "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                  by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 10:17:40 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Well as long as you count the Starbuck's across (3+ / 0-)

        the street as part of the Occupy Movement.

        Or perhaps not even then.  This kind of thing has been tried before and it has never worked.  It never will.  There is such a thing as human nature and it is not completely benign.

        I understand this must be exciting to those directly involved, but once it becomes a movement for the sake of itself it loses any claim to speak for the 99% and becomes instead a nascent radical commune squatting on public property.  It sounds like a very good way to be sure that it loses all legitimacy in the eyes of the vast majority of people for whom it presumes to speak and in so doing doom itself to irrelevance or even infamy.

        History is won by the writers.

        by journeyman on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:12:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Words In Action, shaharazade
          This kind of thing has been tried before and it has never worked.

          There was an Occupy movement before this one?  Pray tell.

          "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

          by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:55:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As I recall the GM occupation worked... (0+ / 0-)

            Just like the one at Republic Windows...

          •  One is tempted to conclude that you are either (0+ / 0-)

            being facetious or deliberately obtuse.  Assuming for the sake of argument that you are not, then I ask you to tell me in exactly what way do you believe the Occupy movement to be something unprecedented in the history of man?

            In what way is the utopia describe any different from the societies that Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, and Christians have attempted to construct through the ages?

            Perhaps you think its the rejection of the status quo and of the hegemonic values of society that leads to a refusal to work within a system the movement deems fundamentally corrupt.

            Perhaps you think its the formally leaderless nature of the program and the emphasis on a horizontal organization emphasizing direct participatory democracy.

            Perhaps you think its the emphasis on love and hope and the rejection of the superficial values of a materialistic society.

            Perhaps you think that its the reliance on raising the false consciousness of the poor deluded masses so that they will form a United Front and overthrow the old order.

            Perhaps you have some different characteristic that you think there is something else that make this movement different from every other utopian movement that has preceded it.  Perhaps you really do think you've got a "game-changer" here.

            If you do, now would seem a good time for you to share it with us.

            History is won by the writers.

            by journeyman on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:22:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well let's see (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shaharazade, ocular sinister
              I ask you to tell me in exactly what way do you believe the Occupy movement to be something unprecedented in the history of man?

              It's leaderless, nonviolent, global, it uses consensus process, and it occupies public spaces with tents.

              Oh yeah, and it doesn't exclude women as "man" might.

              "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

              by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 10:20:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So you've found the perfect formula: (0+ / 0-)

                It's a good thing that it includes women as no utopian formulas have done that in the past.  It's a good thing it's leaderless because there have never been anarchist utopians in the past.  And certainly none of them have been utopian and consensus is brand new in this world.

                Yeah, believe it or not, it's all been done before.

                Basically, you're not nearly as special as you think and the farther you get from the main stream of the 99% you presume to speak for, the quicker your movement will be marginalized.

                And incidentally, I find it ironic that you and so many of the others in the radical faction of OWS are expressing your fears of getting co-opted by Democrats or others while you are expressing your views on a partisan Democratic blog.

                It is you who are attempting to co-opt, not the other way around.

                History is won by the writers.

                by journeyman on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 12:08:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You are stammering. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ocular sinister

                  The topic of discussion in this thread was "has Occupy been tried before its current incarnation?" You keep reasserting that it has.  So when was the previous Occupy movement?  

                  "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                  by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 01:33:13 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You're everywhere today journeyman (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Cassiodorus

                  and you're insulting something the diarist is passionate about.

                  I believe it is appropriate to quote something that you have said to several others lately:

                  "That's not how things are supposed to be done here.

                  Walking into someone's diary is like walking into someone's home. You are a guest. Act accordingly. That doesn't mean you can't disagree. It just means you have to be civil and courteous and limit your arguments to substance.

                  Your comment does not measure up to those standards."

                  You don't like OWS.
                  We get it.
                  You don't.

  •  Thought provoking, though I know many of us (6+ / 0-)

    participate out of a sense of we have to do something to get ourselves off the highway to hell we seem to be hurtling down.

  •  Elections are wars, so money is all that matters (8+ / 0-)

    and we don't have it.  Therefore, yes, a new strategy for change has to be employed.

    •  we actually do have money (0+ / 0-)

      just not the kind the other side has.

      but if we pulled our resources together we could fight fire with fire.

      •  We did that in 2008. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade, ocular sinister

        It cost us a ton. A lot of goodwill has been burned in the lackluster aftermath, mostly because economically the rich are doing better than ever, every time you look.

        Thus, as in 2010, the real passion from the left in 2008 won't be there in 2012. Argue and blame and point fingers all you want, most people won't get excited about eating tripe.

        Which makes direct action, like going after the banks directly, and non-electoral indirect action, such as getting in the faces of elected officials day in and day out in ever larger numbers, and recalling them, etc, so much more important. Which should be a good reason for moderates to participate.

        Absent thatt, the moderates had better figure out some way to get some real populist economic successes out of this administration in the next 6 months if they want substantial help next summer and fall...

        •  see you got that ass backwards (0+ / 0-)

          turns out, the real world, doing what we did in 2006/2008 repeatedly for the next 20 years would eventually yield results.

          how do i know that?  well the republicans did it.  they didn't give up when Clinton got elected!!  They doubled down.  Now that Obama has the power, they have gone completely nuts but tripled their previous efforts.

          they will garner some success because their tactics cannot be denied.  our tactics seem to put us in the same spot.  we take our ball and go home..  they go long!

          •  We will never be more than a handful (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ocular sinister

            of votes from being outvoted. The R's never to seem to need much than 50 and we always need at least 60. We will never much more than 65 and at least 5 can always be bought in a given situation. You're talking about decades for a very slippery "win".

            Occupy is talking about breaking that model entirely by going directly at the businesses and applying a different kind of pressure on government.

            •  that's a different thing (0+ / 0-)

              the reason they don't need 60 is the Dems don't play chicken very well.  simple as that.

              Occupy is talking about breaking that model entirely by going directly at the businesses and applying a different kind of pressure on government.

              Not going to make a dent.  The Republicans were successful because they built long standing organizations and took over their party.  

              Think about it.  Republicans before and even including Reagon himself wouldn't make it in today's republican party based on the platform they originally ran on.  They have pulled their party so far to the right and America along with them.  

          •  2006/08 were not successes (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ocular sinister, joe wobblie

            They were traps.  Our efforts went to naught.  We need liberals at the minimum and our only realistic choices are conservatives and "moderates" (in a constantly-marching-rightward Overton Window).

            We are not giving up, but escalating, by making a serious threat: If we don't get a government that actually works, there is going to be a fucking revolution.

            •  Slamming the window! (0+ / 0-)

              Your prognosis for the body politic is dire...
              I am no fat gypsy and have no "Crystal Ball" but with sham democrats, blue dogs, and weak kneed liberals vis-a-vis the hard core 'Young Turds' and fascist conservative elements in opposition to them I have yet another foretelling:
                As typical in banana republics, a coup de grace and concomitant takeover by a totalitarian military dictatorship.  There are many fine candidates for Fuhrer; Gingrich, Rove, Koch, Limburger, Norquist, Beck, ad inf...

  •  As usual, I agree with you, although I do (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade

    think there is a hybrid approach with two inter-twined threads, and I believe it's already happening to a degree.

    The first thread is involved in developing communities with sustainable lifestyles and democratic behaviors more attuned to the long now.

    The second thread involves action intended to stimulate and hopefully achieve short-term change.

    This, I would suggest, is where changing the public narrative to at least include the 99% and wealth distribution in the conversation--although budgets, deficits, the debt and austerity have by no means left the stage--comes in.

    Another example is the bank transfer direct action, which is, I think, off to a good start though much more has to happen to truly influence bank behavior. Even then, however, as you suggest, banking will no doubt be in state that requires a complete reset at some point in the future.

    The second thread is nothing but a quasi-transitional phase. It raises awareness, fosters engagement and can even provide some short-term relief.

    As a Critical Mass proponent, the success of the second thread, in my mind, is heavily dependent on growth. The bank transfer, for example, will become much more impactful as direct action and as a reflection of what this Movement can do in the near term if we can get an order of magnitude more people involved. Influencing government, particularly the federal government and state and local government in red areas, requires an increase of participation of several orders of magnitude.

    For example, you put a million people on the Mall, surrounding the Supreme Court, the Capitol building and the White House, with no plans for leaving, and I'm confident you will get some beneficial results. Nothing that will solve all of our problems, but definitely some important wins that will help people who are suffering now and perhaps even some tentative steps on global warming, steps which could provide a jogging start to real solutions.

    Remember, D.C. has a population of less than 700,000. A million people would effectively brind the city to its knees. The law enforcement and/or military force needed to "quell" that would be pretty much unthinkable.

    I do think this could lead, for example, to a more progressive tax structure and a Constitutional Amendment to override Citizen's United. No doubt these measures would have flaws, but they would be better than what we have today. While we working on the longer term solutions, these would only help.

    Something similar and concurrent on Wall Street would also have a significant impact.

    The problem with achieving success with the second thread is that, I believe, the Movement is treating direct action as a tactic limited to modest or not growth, because it has not adopted Critical Mass as Movement-wide strategy for achieving a short term endgame of sorts (not THE endgame, but one that's a good start). And therfore tactical programs for achieving growth are limited. That would take serious thinking about how we attract, engage, nurture and retain people who participate in a variety of ways. And so far, I have not seen much interest in or capacity for that level of organization on the bottom of pyramid to have more impact on the top of the pyramid.

    In conclusion, then, I think the second thread will continue to suffer from over-reliance on guerilla style organization and tactics and a tendency to avoid larger goals that require short-tem planning and execution on a much larger scale than anything the Movement has seen so far.

    So far, the focus seems to be on the first thread. One reason, which is correct, is that real long-term solutions will take long-term development. The second assumption, apparently held by many, is that nothing meaningful can be accomplished in the short-term. And the third assumption is that the focus required to agree on and coordinate and accomplish specific large, impactful goals is somehow undesirable and/or unnecessary and certainly secondary to employing what in many cases are time-consuming decision-making processes. I think this is incorrect and. combined with the first two assumptions, more than unfortunate as it will continue to diminish our short-term impact.

  •  It's noteworthy that none of the objections (3+ / 0-)

    has (so far) seriously answered my questions, or proposed anything but the status quo as the solution to problems emanating from the status quo.

    "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

    by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 07:42:45 AM PST

  •  Ugh. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Whimsical, Deep Texan

    Want to use Occupy to raise the issue of income inequality and the abuses of the 1%?

    I'm right with you.

    Want to use Occupy to force a revolution to replace our Democratic system?

    I'll be donning the Kevlar and standing with the Police/Armed Forces against you.

    •  The issue I have with Cassiodorus' model is that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan, stolen water

      it presumes the model of ancient greek democracy is workable on the scale of modern nations.

      I don't think he wants to replace our Democratic system with an un-democratic one. I think he wants to replace it with another democratic system that is, emprically, at least as unsustainable as the current model.

      •  Do I assume the scale of modern nations? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade, ocular sinister

        So OK, let me expand a bit.  Real power need not be lodged in existing systems of global governance, nor in world-conquering nation states such as the US.

        "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

        by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:23:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is the hardest sale of the current (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan, ocular sinister

          Occupy proposition. It will take a miracle and generations to complete the sale, if ever.

          Democratic socialism, however, is completely believable, even it only comes piecemeal at first and ultimately requires revolution to get the real deal.

          This is the crux of the future of the movement, I believe: is the gap between you and I--who are both committed to the causes of getting money out of government and a government for the 100%, and all of the better decisions full representation will enable--which remains between anarchism and Democratic Socialism, a bridge too far?

          Because we will certainly both factions of the movement to get the job done. In fact, we need a lot more people as well, and many of them are simply interested in mostly getting money out of government, a somewhat more progressive tax structure, a somewhat better job outlook, a public option, and no more bailouts. They'd probably be comfortable if socialism wasn't mentioned. They are at least as suspicious of anarchism as you are of corporatism; in fact, if they had to choose, they would probably stick with the devil they know...

          •  the devil they (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Words In Action, ocular sinister

            know is currently cutting off all possibility all avenues for change or reform, even the minor cosmetic ones you mentioned.  It's going to get worse not better as the Goldmans Sachs of this world are consolidating their power and overtly taking over governments, globally. Greece? Italy? This put the government's at complete odds with the people who consent to being governed.

             At this point it's becoming more and more obvious to even those who are 'moderate' that they have absolutely no way  through the electoral system to change or stop their own destruction. you think the government is going to provide a better job outlook? They look upon labor as a profit loss, why would they, they are free market fundies, economic extremists ? A public option won't get people decent affordable health care across the board. And on it goes.

            This movement and the protest's globally are not going to stop as the 1%  will continue with 'austerity'. They are not going to let up and allow reform even incremental.  They are arrogant true believers. They are the way forward.. They are doing god's work. The people in a large majority did try to change the power in 06 and 08 they saw the fierce urgency of now and acted on it. all that happened was it got fiercer.

            As Greenwald says

            Law enforcement officials and policy-makers in America know full well that serious protests — and more — are inevitable given the economic tumult and suffering the U.S. has seen over the last three years (and will continue to see for the foreseeable future). A country cannot radically reduce quality-of-life expectations, devote itself to the interests of its super-rich, and all but eliminate its middle class without triggering sustained citizen fury.

            As for the sale of Occupy it hasn't offered a product to buy. It is offering however a lesson in the power of people and it has helped people not to fear.  Like the Egyptians and Tunisians. I think the system itself will make the sale as it will not listen to the people but ratchet up the social injustice as that is at this point it's only agenda. This will make this movement grow.

            I didn't camp or occupy the parks, but I have gone to marches and events and supported the actual occupiers. The people I talk to many who do not camp but are in solidarity are not rads they are ordinary people who see where we as people are headed and know that what we have now does not work.  

            Many of the accupiers at the camp here were the children of my friends and associates, who are Democratic 'moderates'.  I have noticed these parents have stopped being apologist's for the Democrat's and Obama. They like occupy it's democratic and it may work. Like a fellow middle aged marcher said to me nothing else is working we have to do something.

             Our current politics are irrelevant to the people,  and we really must do something but for many it will not be partisan or inside the system. Occupy is the beginning, as for the future of democracy you really can't kill an idea. Form follows function and people can figure out how to self govern and represent the common good. Perhaps I'll even get my habeaus corpus back.  

                         

      •  It isn't even ancient Greek democracy! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Whimsical, JustinBinFL, Deep Texan

        Even if you put aside the obvious fact that ancient Greek democracy was really only ancient Greek democracy for free men of means, the fact remained that when the majority of those who voted in Greek democracy were in favor of something, that would become the policy for everyone—even those who had voted against it.

        With the Greek democracy came the idea that coercive force was legitimate in stopping people who didn't want to go along with what the majority of their society as a whole had agreed to do.

        It was rule by the demos—society as a whole—not rule of individuals by themselves.

        Anarchy is not democracy. They are two different and incompatible things.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:31:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's the best part of what's missing from (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan

          this utopia he suggests. Even when the mass were able to participate in the assemblies of that time, it was almost inevitable that the elite would get their way anyway. However they were also held in check by the simple fact of, well, the simplicity of the time.

          This is the story of human government since history was history, oral or written or otherwise. The question isn't how to prevent such splits from developing in society; it's how best to keep everyone focused on what is mutually beneficial. I don't see how a bunch of regional, factionalized groups can accomplish that.

          •  In my opinion, it isn't even just about... (0+ / 0-)

            ...elites vs. masses—though that's certainly an aspect as well.

            In a "consensus-based" system like the GA, a single individual can block the whole of the assembly from taking an action—and if the whole assembly decides to take that action anyway after hearing out the blocker's objections, the blocker is free to either go along with the assembly's decision or remove themselves from being part of the assembly and bound by its decisions.

            That is, of course, dependent on the notion that leaving the assembly and its rules is possible. That can work in a camp (to a greater or lesser extent) because everyone's portable—it's simply a matter of picking up one's tent and placing it in a different spot.

            It's a lot harder when you've built a house.

            When human beings actually settle in places, rather than just camp in them, they can't just up and move when they disagree with the consensus of the whole. Thus, the consensus model breaks down, as the second option available to the blocker—to simply leave the society—isn't really available.

            So you're left with three choices:
            (a) Let one antisocial person block the entire decision-making body indefinitely;
            (b) let them leave the authority of the GA and do whatever they want outside its rules, regardless of the fact that they aren't going to move physically and thus their antisocial behavior negatively affects the quality of life of those around them; or
            (c) simply say "tough shit, the rest of us have all decided this, so this is what we're doing," and force the antisocial person to do what the society as a whole wants regardless of his or her wishes.

            If you choose (a) or (b), you've got a system that's going to be pathetically bad at handling issues like climate change or pollution as a whole, where the individual good of one person can involve damage to the whole of society, thus creating a system whereby the selfish basically screw everyone over.

            If you choose (c), congratulations—you've now got a coercive democracy. So now you decide what percentage of the vote is enough to overcome a block—whether that's majority, two-thirds, plurality, what have you. But still, you're creating a system that's no longer consensus-based at all, but rather based on the will of some kind of majority or plurality—which is, of course, not at all the system in place in the #Occupy GAs.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:23:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Consensus breaks down all the time. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ocular sinister

              Sometimes people leave, sometimes the group opts to convert to a majority or supermajority vote.  There are plenty of examples of all of this from the short history of Occupy.  Joining an Occupy is the short route to actually observing this history in the making.

              The point is that consensus is at least consistently TRIED in Occupy.  Mainstream government, by contrast, doesn't even pretend anymore to consult the public as a whole or to hear out its reasonings.  "Send your letters so they can be ignored."  "Vote for the lesser of two evils again."  "Be cherry-picked to represent your community at our phony town hall."

              "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

              by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 10:27:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And when the people who leave do damage? (0+ / 0-)

                You still haven't answered the fundamental question, which is whether the consensus model is capable of scaling to a societal level—and the fact that those who don't consent to the decisions of the whole are still free to do whatever they want, instead of facing constraints on their actions.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 12:19:11 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Everyone is free to do what they want now. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ocular sinister

                  And nobody "leaves."

                  "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                  by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 01:36:29 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, they're really not free to. (0+ / 0-)

                    The reason corporations complain about regulations is because they're being regulated.

                    There are far too many exceptions to pollution laws, and those holes should be shut, but we have a lot more restrictions on pollution now than we did 30 years ago.

                    If you think I'm wrong about this, let me know if you have any trouble getting a bag of DDT at your local garden store.

                    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                    by JamesGG on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 01:51:06 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yes, they are. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ocular sinister

                      "Law" only "prohibits" people from doing things when it is "enforced," and "enforcement" is itself the freedom of the legal authorities.

                      I'm for giving up here.  I just don't accept your terms, I don't think there's any possible way I could open you up to the possibility that I'm suggesting something reasonable here, and I suspect you don't really want anything to do with Occupy or with changing the world in any significant way.  You haven't, after all, answered any of the questions in my diary.  And I don't think you intend to do so.

                      "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

                      by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 03:36:15 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  +1 for laws as punishment, not deterrence (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Cassiodorus
                        "Law" only "prohibits" people from doing things when it is "enforced," and "enforcement" is itself the freedom of the legal authorities*.
                        *emphasis added
                        Laws only work as deterrence on the "law abiding" and don't get me started on cops...

                        Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. - Alan Watts On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

                        by ocular sinister on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 03:56:25 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  There's no class society? (0+ / 0-)
            almost inevitable that the elite would get their way anyway.

            So there are no working people who work for elites?

            "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

            by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 10:21:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  We do not have a democratic (3+ / 0-)

        system and the current model we have in place, is nothing more then the ATM and enforcer of the two big to fails. They are not even nation states their multinationals. They practice disaster capitalism and are dismantling the social systems of democratic representational democracy, globally.  

        As the Goldman Sachs guy said 'we rule the world'. Democratic systems are not in their interest, neither is the common good, justice or equality or human progress.  The scale of modern nations is part of the problem, so is centralization of power. The status quo is what's unsustainable, why keep it in place?

        History is organic it is all about change and politics are not static. You are viewing  the world  from the place we are you've accepted this model as inevitable, or empirical.  Ideas and humans are not empirical they can and do adapt and change they have imagination. They managed to come up with the concepts of democracy and are capable of creating new forms of self governance.    

        I think OWS is the flip side of globalization and it does not appear to be nationalistic or centralized. It's a horizontal movement and it's goals while global can be implemented locally. Self governance, that represents the common good can be developed and communities can replace     I think this is the beginning of the end of  theory and practice of oligarchical collectivism. they have gone to far as they always do.  

         Too big to fail is just to top heavy not to fall. People are in the process of finding a way to reassert democracy. The mechanics of how and where need to start in communities. This system is not working and it's killing the planet to boot. Reforming this 'new world order' is pointless as it's basic tenant's are all about capitalism and power and it's goals are not only anti-democratic they are a point of destroying the world and the people who must live on it. People are just not this stupid so they will do what they have to change this so called inevitable reality.            

        •  Agreed. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade, ocular sinister

          How we get from working models in small communities to working models of large numbers of interconnected communities is what is missing. It is missing in the Occupy Movement as well as the model in the experiments. And it does show in lack of coordination. And there are situations where mass coordination not only within but across the communities is vital. Such as addressing Global Warming.

          I like the fact we're having the conversation, though. In the past I've been made to feel extremely uncomfortable for either raising questions or stating objections. I am generally persuadable. But I need to persuaded.

    •  Because Kevlar is always a great substitute (3+ / 0-)

      for consensus.  

      And of course the creation of community gardens and compost toilets is an act of violence that must be stopped at all costs.

      Ever been to an Occupy general assembly Anglo?

      "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

      by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:07:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What Democratic system would that be? (4+ / 0-)

      Surely you don't mean this fake, dumbed-down pretend democracy we've been living under for the past 40 years. If this tyrannical rightwing POS doesn't call for a revolution then nothing ever has or ever will.

    •  kevlar? we're not armed! (0+ / 0-)

      who do you think we are? some rightwing militia?

      our one demand? return what was stolen.

      by stolen water on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 12:04:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That seems to be a big issue, still. What is OWS (4+ / 0-)

    for, what is wanted.  Some want to reform or overhaul current systems, such as increasing taxes on the rich, scale back the military spending by half, stop the unregulated gambling on Wall St and the big banks. etc, while others want to create a new type of society.

  •  Rec'd for the importance of the questions (0+ / 0-)

    raised.

    A respectful debate of them and of differences of opinion surrounding them should be equally important and instructive to the Movement engaged in or interacting with or unengaged but depending upon its success.

  •  Shaky ground. (0+ / 0-)
    Thus I see the real strength of the Occupy movement is in its moves to replace the current society with a new one.

    Movements whose intention is to bring about change always fail.  Only movements whose intention is to reflect change that has already occurred, and demand official recognition of the fact, succeed.  What Occupy is doing is reflecting in politics the fact of technology-mediated direct democracy.  

    That has not, and cannot, replace representative government - not yet, anyway, and not in the foreseeable future.  A great deal of evolution and trial-and-error has to take place first, and while that's happening we still have to make sure that we don't become utterly divorced from government.  That would be self-defeating, empowering not only the people who already corrupt government, but also promoting general chaos.  

    The greatest promise of Occupy, as I've been saying on many occasions, is its potential to create robust and explicit direct democracy institutions on the local level.  We aren't even at that relatively modest point yet, so it's kind of embarrassing to be talking about "replacing society" when we haven't even managed to formalize a relationship with city government.  We saw in the 1960s the tendency of "consciousness changing" movements to become delusional and solipsistic, and we have to fight that to keep this movement relevant and engaged with people who aren't interested in their consciousness being changed - only laws and policies.    

  •  a similar question posed: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    there
    were no demands in the Declaration of Independence. Are you looking for a change of paradigm or for new regulations?

    our one demand? return what was stolen.

    by stolen water on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 11:48:17 PM PST

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