VISIONS & GOALS WORKING GROUP
November 4, 2011
Members Present: Ted, Andy, Rich, Patrick, Jim, Ryan, Darrell, Sara, Raul, Laurie, Jason, Ed, Anna, David, Marie, Spencer, Nikki, Ross, Sumumba, Michael P., Natasha, Naomi, Sammy, Michael M., Jeffrey, Derek
Meeting convened at 5:45p.m.
The meeting begins with 1 minute of respectful silence.
Ted reports back from discussions that took place after our meeting on Monday, 11/2. In particular, Bill had made some interesting points for us to consider, among them the phrasing of a key question to pose to the world in response to the Declaration of the Occupation. Also, might we get started on some YouTube videos for folks to see what we’re talking about?
Consensus is reached around the following agenda: 1) 20 minutes in breakout groups on the concept of the big question to continue the dialog begun by the Declaration of the Occupation. 2) 10 minutes on reportbacks. 3) 15 minutes in breakout groups on the following two topics: A) How does this work we are engaged in relate to other movements (i.e. Rio Earth Summit) and B) What framework should we use for sorting out the blueprint document and its GA feedback (i.e. values, guiding assumptions, beliefs, actions, goals) and how can we make the document more open/inclusive? 4) 10 minutes on reportbacks. Three breakout groups are formed to work on the first agenda item.
Sara reports for her group. We wondered about using the words “transformation” and “obsolete” in the big question. Also, we thought about whether the existing system could be made to work properly or whether it should all be thrown out, or whether some elements could be saved. How do we address all this, and could we find the elements necessary to effect a remodeling. How should the definition of “civil responsibility” change? This needs to be part of the dialog, as people are an essential part of any system. Thoughts about focusing on financial ideas, civil rights, freedom of assembly… What are the elements we want involved? This is a “you question.” One key word we settled on was “integrity.” And should the question be addressed to the country or to the world? How do we create the world we want to live in? The old one is obsolete; disregard everything?
Ted reports for his group. Our group also highlighted the word “obsolescence.” Given the current depth and breadth of human knowledge, what is useful to create or build on top of that knowledge? We thought about words like “liberty,” divorced from academic language, made accessible to the general public. We also thought about the idea of asking two or three questions – these are the guidelines. Identifying the oppressor was thought to be useful: centralized power. What would a free, democratic, fair, just, peaceful and sustainable/abundant society look like? How to unlock the potential to create an abundant society for all? A crew needs to benefit from the actions and work of a captain, not just exist to serve that captain. We also thought that we should not be reluctant to steal good ideas that work from corporate culture.
Michael P. reports for his group. Our group wondered whether the big question was about alternatives to our capitalist system. No specific ideology was raised; we weren’t necessarily thinking about socialism, etc. We liked the words “limitless human freedom” and “human emancipation.” We thought that the question should invite the world to join us, as opposed to telling us whatever. We need the world to be involved in this. We also think that it is a good idea to compare different types of declarations (independence, U.N. human rights, etc.) to see what may be in them that could be useful here. Do we want to live in a world controlled by corporations? What is the quality of life that we want to have for everyone?
Discussion ensues, with Ed noting that we should stick to the basics: let’s invite the world to tell us what they want… we don’t want to engage in “idea-based colonialism.” Also, we should stay away from alternate systems like socialism; let’s try to fix the problem in place. Natasha reminds the group that this statement should be for us here; let the world take it up and then answer their own questions. Ted points out that we should emphasize creativity over problem-solving. The emotional states that happen in the human brain when it is engaged in problem-solving are generally negative and can lead ultimately to us hating each other. Focusing on creativity is a good way to keep the conversation very positive. Rich observes that the question of whether to repair or replace is really secondary here: the primary question is what kind of world do we want to create? Two breakout groups are formed to work on the third agenda item.
Anna reports back from the group that looked at how our work can relate to and engage with other movements. Our group discussed strategies such as reaching out via email and via direct contact. The group felt that further discussion was needed on this in all areas: how to connect, how to decide what is important to us on this question, whether to reach out in a given set of circumstances, and the drafting of a list of organizations and movements to target for outreach. It was also thought that the drafting of a list of who currently supports OWS would be a good idea.
Rich reports back from the group that looked at what framework we should use for sorting out the blueprint document and its GA feedback, and how we can make the document more open/inclusive. Our group wondered if we should start with a big question. Or maybe with first principles? We might also list/quote historical documents and look for synergies between them and what we’re working on here. We liked the idea of sorting the blueprint points and the GA feedback into buckets of visions, goals, values and actions. We should sort, yes, but also edit. After sorting into major categories, might we consider prefacing each section somehow?
Meeting ends at 8:10p.m.