Saturday, February 4, 2012

Define #occupy? Are you serious?

How focused and defined should be the #occupy movement?

There are a lot of voices within the #occupy movement calling to define the movement, to come up with a clear list of claims, or with a clear action plan. I have also came across a lot of articles arguing that the #occupy movement doesn’t need more structure. In this post I am going to give my opinion in support of a broad and only loosely defined movement, relying on my own understanding, which was built over the last 6 months of active involvement with the movement.

The potential of the #occupy movement stems from the fact that it is open, decentralized AND loosely defined! I see this movement as an open platform supporting a wide diversity of initiatives, all interacting with each other to give birth to new ideas, plans and actions.

Those who propose to turn the movement into a political party, or to better define it, or to create a finite list of claims, or to focus its actions don’t really understand the essence of this phenomenon.

#occupy should be seen as a chaotic soup, sparkling with potential, from which structured and concrete initiatives emerge from time to time.
#occupy cannot be a political party, but a political party can emerge from within the movement, without replacing it.
#occupy can not be defined on paper, but a small group of people can give themselves a working definition and use it to structure their actions.
We cannot reduce #occupy to a list of actions, but some participants can give themselves a coherent plan of action, with a clear aim.

#occupy is a process through which we try to create a better world.
#occupy is a movement, it has a direction, but how precise should it be?

A recurrent theme within the larger narrative is "emergence". This brings us to chaotic systems, most of which are also very complex. #occupy is a complex chaotic system, the "soup" sparkling with potential. The Communist revolution was very focused. It started with one philosopher who gave us manuals to follow, handbooks on economics, politics, sociology that we used as guides, and we screwed up in a very BIG way! Why? I my opinion that is because the system we tried to build was too formalized, too rigid, too focused, too hierarchical... Not that I believe in communism, don’t get me wrong. I see beyond the communism/capitalism dichotomy. But we could have screwed up in a smaller way if the project had some room to innovate, to adapt.


The #occupy movement must integrate a great diversity. What is missing now, is a framework through which these various ideas, projects, actions, can exchange DNA, i.e. can merge, copy from each other, and continue their development within a Darwinian environment. People need to become more inclusive, need to focus on ideas, projects, actions, and not so much on themselves. We must collaborate; only our ideas must be in competition. This happens only if we learn to respect each other for what we are, for our knowledge, for our passion and dedication. Instead of letting our ego drive us, we should learn to appreciate each other and to constructively criticize our ideas, and plans, and actions, not to criticize one another.

We need to learn how to cope with complexity and diversity. Solving the world's problems requires many different worldviews and approaches. Technology takes care of complexity, by hiding it behind a simple interface. In order to be able to cope with diversity it takes a cultural change.

This is not only theory! We are already putting it into practice.

Those who want to better define #occupy want to take this

and turn it into this

Which option is more resilient, more creative? You'll be the judge.

By t!b!

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