Occupy Wall Street Metamorphosizes-- And it's Beautiful and Fun
I spent four of the five days at the Occupy National Gathering and my here's my overall impression;
It was a powerful, visionary, exciting, FUN gathering of representatives from close to 100 different Occupy locales. Marches through Philadelphia, aimed at Comcast and big Banks, in heat reaching mid 90s temperatures, had upwards of 300-500 marchers.
The goals of the gathering, described on the official website were, "for a week of direct actions, movement building and the creation of a vision for a democratic future." There was also a lot of sharing of ideas, tactics, strategies, resources, between occupiers, for example, on how to help people being foreclosed on and thrown out of their houses, or how to take over unoccupied buildings.
The last day focused on a visioning process. Hundreds of the occupy representatives participated in discussions aimed at defining a positive vision for a democratic future. I participated in the process.
This visioning was interesting to me because I've spent many years in the world of positive psychology, long enough so I own the website www.positivepsychology.net. With positive psychology, we take an approach that goes beyond diagnosing and fixing what's broken. We look at how people can be taught and empowered to reach towards optimal functioning, towards ideal ways of being. I felt that the same approach could be applying to visioning for an ideal future from an Occupy perspective.
photo by rob kall
First, the whole group of Occupy #NatGat listened as the coordinators explained the process.
People were broken up into groups of 45. Then, further broken into groups of three who were asked to generate a lists of visions for a democratic future. A scribe for each group of three was to write them down. Next, three groups of three were to come together. First, a new scribe had to be chosen for each group of three. Then, they had to collage the ideas into a single list representing the nine people, and then, the nine had to vote, with twinkle fingers, on the different items.
Next, the lists created by the nine people were worked on by another group of scribes, so the visions of the 45 could be pulled together. This was not always easy work. One group might have had an item-- "get rid of for-profit prisons." Another had, "end all imprisonment." They weren't the same! There were some ideas that each group had come up with that were very similar--- "direct democracy," "horizontal approaches wherever possible," "free healthcare and education." Now, please keep in mind, these are my personal observations and recollections, not the official report that will be issued, soon, by the group that organized the visioning process.
On the last day of the gathering, Elise Luce Kraemer displayed and helped to create the Occupy My Soul Quilt, a beautiful collection of images and words.
Here's a video, taken by Kevin Gosztola, showing some of the discussion in the visioning session.
People wonder what the future of the Occupy movement is. I left the gathering very optimistic and hopeful. The energy, creativity, dedication and passion manifested by all ages is extraordinary. The encampments are gone. So be it. The future of occupy is in the people already in it and those who discover it and who the current people awaken, who will act as catalysts, moving the people of the world from a top down culture of dinosaurs to a bottom up, horizontal, direct democracy world of little mammals. That's how evolution happened. That's how the metamorphosis of Occupy will shake the world and, from the bottom up, make the biggest changes seen since civilization began.
With his experience as architect and founder of a technorati top 100 blog, he is also a new media / social media consultant and trainer for corporations, non-profits, entrepreneurs and authors.
Rob is a frequent Speaker on the bottom-up revolution, politics, The art, science and power of story, heroes and the hero's journey and Positive Psychology. He is a campaign consultant specializing in tapping the power of stories for issue positioning, stump speeches and debates, and optimizing tapping the power of new media. Watch me speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.
See more Rob Kall articles here and, older ones, here.
To watch me on youtube, having a lively conversation with John Conyers, former Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click here Now, wouldn't you like to see me on the political news shows, representing progressives. If so, tell your favorite shows to bring me on and refer them to this youtube video.