Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and People's Assembly #ows

In spite of what much of the press says, the Occupy Wall Street movement has very clearly stated goals and agendas. They have a loosely anarchist approach to self-government, and are actively working to challenge the hegemony of Wall Street, and weaken plutocracy. You can read about it.

Generally speaking, I'm in favor of movements that encourage grassroots democracy, undermine plutocracy, and encourage democratic forms of assembly. I find the movement's organizational strategy of People's Assemblies particularly interesting. I think churches and other groups can learn much from the model. For example, the faq on people's assemblies includes this wisdom:

The aim of Collective Thinking is to construct. That is to say, two people with differing ideas work together to build something new. The onus is therefore not on my idea or yours; rather it is the notion that two ideas together will produce something new, something that neither of us had envisaged beforehand. This focus requires of us that we actively listen, rather than merely be preoccupied with preparing our response.

Collective Thinking is born when we understand that all opinions, be these opinions our own or others’, need to be considered when generating consensus and that an idea, once it has been constructed indirectly, can transform us.

Do not be discouraged: we are learning; we’ll get there: all that’s needed is time.

That is an ethic not uninformed by love of neighbor and a kingdom eschatology, even if Jesus is not named.

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