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Issue 1 – The Future of Assemblies

“Occupy will never die; Evict us, we multiply!”

Welcome to Issue 1 of The Future of Occupy newsletter! 

 

Introduction

This issue is the labor of love of The Future of Occupy collaborative, a group of individuals tending the gardens of the movement’s collective intelligence and wisdom.  We seed, feed and weed its gardens of collective self-knowledge. That wisdom is emerging from the grassroots, through the General Assemblies, the pages of the movement’s electronic and print media, the working groups of GA, and a growing number of collectives of artists, economists, trade unionist, educators, film makers, teachers, and others, standing in solidarity with Occupy. We provide a mirror to reflect its unfolding and a platform for the cross-fertilization of ideas and inspirations from around the world.

As the movement enters a new phase of its development, when many sites are evicted or facing eviction, continuing to hold General Assemblies anyway, seems more important than ever. For this reason, the first issue of FoO is dedicated to the General Assemblies themselves, in recognition of their role as one of the movement’s most potent life-giving forces.

Here you will find blogposts about the processes and evolution of the GAs, collaborative thinking, and a set of core declarations from some of the major occupations.

Enjoy, spread the word and engage with the Future of Occupy!

The FoO collective


Contents

General Assemblies: the primordial soup of social life in the 3rd millennium

Could it be that in the Occupy movement we are witnessing no less than the beginnings of the next stage of our human and planetary evolution?  This article places GAs within the vast context of the evolutionary process. It explores the movement towards greater levels of complexity in both living and social systems that now appears to be giving birth to something entirely new: the democratic, participatory assemblies that liberate human creativity and collective intelligence.
read General Assemblies: the primordial soup of social life in the 3rd millennium

Under Assemblies what might national, European and global governance look like?

The assembly is a new political form to bring about a people powered globalisation and democratisaton of all spheres of life… Under this model, People’s Assemblies as new ‘institutions of the common’ would drive national as well as local policy via a federated, delegate system to the national (and ultimately also transnational) representative bodies.

read MORE

Collective Thinking is an essential part of our movement
In contrast to our present system based on competitive thinking whereby “winning” ideas and opinions dominate, the aim of collective thinking is to co-create a new reality. New solutions arise when we contribute and listen with the goal of building together rather defeating an opponent. For the Occupy movement to realize its full potential, boosting and mobilizing its collective intelligence is not a luxury but a necessity.
read MORE 

Beyond Protest: the way of People’s Assemblies
What is wrong with representative democracy? And when it doesn’t work, what can we do besides protesting? How much more creative would it be if in instead directing our frustrations at being poorly “represented,” we took our affairs into our own hands, using our people’s assemblies and social technologies? This blogpost investigates those questions.
read MORE

Occupy as a new societal model and ways to improve it
How massively the movement will grow depends in part on both how inclusive and efficient are its governance processes, and how swiftly it can shift resources and skills to areas where they’re the most needed, avoiding possible bottlenecks. Horizontal organization and consensus are necessary but not sufficient means for achieving that. This article outlines a variety of popular group process tools that make the new forms of real democracy work better.
read MORE

How Occupy innovates and gives new meaning to “mass communication”
Good conversations in the General Assemblies don’t look for the quick fix of wicked problems. “The real solution frequently takes time to discover, is often messy, and the process can occasionally become really confusing… So then the group takes a break. People step away to tend to other activities, reflect in silence, or join together to sing, dance and make music, trusting that clarity will eventually emerge if they hold the process and each other gently, joyfully, respectfully.”
read MORE

Select movement documents related to General Assemblies
The pages referenced below outline the principles and structures that facilitate the way in which the Occupy-ers are thinking, making decisions and organizing. They are the fruits of the creativity and collective wisdom of the general assemblies. If you’re interested in history-in-the-making and indications of how a ‘new society’ might blossom then have a look at these key documents of the Occupy movement:

The Structure of the New York City General Assembly 
Occupy Vancouver decision making processes
Statement from Occupy San Francisco 
Occupy London: Initial Statement 
Quick Guide on Group Dynamics in People’s Assemblies