Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy Eugene-Watching Democracy in Action

Hello Comrades,

Like many of you, as of late, I have been pre-occupied with revolution, protest, and rebellion. The movement that began on Wall Street (or should we say it began in The Arab Spring?, or even with the World Social Forum?, Latin America?, Seattle WTO protest?) Whatever, wherever, this movement began, at this point it's hard to deny that something exciting is happening globally. People from diverse backgrounds are uniting through a shared feeling that something isn't right. The people are tired of feeling powerless and are beginning to exert their influence.

Currently, there have been 972 Occupy (insert city name) protest in the United States over the past few weeks. I have been participating in the Occupy Eugene movement. And I must say, it is quite a beautiful thing to watch a large group of people learn to debate and come to a consensus with each other. Part of the fun is the challenge of learning to think collectively while respecting the diversity that exist within the group. And also to avoid falling into a group think mentality. In this process we have to have patience and extreme focus, for example at a recent Occupy Eugene general assembly it took our group almost an hour to come to a consensus decision that we would make decisions using a consensus model. That means that for a decision to be made, we have decided that we need at least 90 percent of the room on board. And how do we conduct this debate? Through a moderately elaborate system of hand gestures. (It becomes even more fun if you dance while doing the gestures.)

Now I don't know what will come out of this wave of protest that has spread across our country (and the globe). I could tell you my hopes: I hope that this protest leads to a transfer of power, that it breaks up the global oligarchy to allow for more people and ideas to play a role in creating a more ethical and sustainable society. I would like to believe that this is the case, and that maybe it even is the enactment of ancient Mayan prophesies. I would like to think this is the case, but I don't know.

ONe thing I can tell you though, is after experiencing the Occupy Movement. I know that a lot of people are learning how to be more empowered, and how to collaborate and become more democratic in their ways of being.

And that, if nothing else, is a reason to cheer the movement on.

In Solidarity,

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