creating a Commons?

26 Nov

Like a lot of us, I continue to follow (and share with others) what is happening with the Occupy Process with great interest and continue to remain a supporter, in some ways an opponent, and in other ways wildly agnostic about this phenomenon.

I’d like to share some of the thinking and action on #OWS that I’ve found most inspiring.

First off, the Occupy Cafe dialogue initiative is encouraging. OC aims to be a place for respectful conversation for  everything connected with the movement. My hope is that wiser and more compassionate action might emerge as a consequence of this space.

There are online conversations,  highly engaging teleconference conversations weekly, and as of today the first in-person/on-the-ground Occupy Cafe event taking place (in Portland)! The conversation on what Occupy 2.0 could be gives a taste of what’s happening over there.

One of the  most inspiring pieces I’ve read thus far is a post by an occupier at Occupy Philly, framing their occupation (if it is still ongoing) as a  “commons.” I think of re-creating the commons as a form of hyperlocal placemaking, essential to recreating the village we lost. And I’ve wondered if reclaiming and rebuilding the commons is one of those absolutely essential actions to take ourselves (in the West, at least) forward. This inspiring video, Transforming Space into Place, says more about placemaking.

Also, author and consultant Sharif Abdullah has written a number of provocative and constructive blog posts outlining what needs to happen for Occupy to go forward. He writes these out of many years experience– including internationally- of doing transformative peace work. In a conversation, recently, he offered five essential elements for a social movement to be successful:

1. Directly address the issues of the current paradigm

2. Offer a compelling, positive paradigm-busting vision.

3. a focused, disciplined core of activists

4. actions, campaigns that are positive in tone.

5. attuned to the transcendent (spiritual, but not religious)

What do you make of this list? How many of those elements are present in Occupy today?


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