In the Beginning there was ...?

Gathers to analyze and address the relations between systems at different levels: the systems that emerge among us as members of the occupation itself, local and regional systems, and large-scale systems (national or international, for instance). We are committed to developing workable proposals for concrete action at all three levels. Our conversations aim to link the movement's practical and theoretical concerns together in the service of collective and individual growth.

In the Beginning there was ...?

Postby TheGreatRenewal » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:06 am

How do we get to 'this is how we do things?' Most of us never think about that. In reality every moment of our individual lives we 'choose' 'how we do things'. Here's the rub ... it's not innate within us. How do we know this?

1) Any fertile man can impregnate any fertile woman ... worldwide
2) Every child is born from a woman's body
3) Every child is born naked and equal ... we are all One Humanity
4) Every language, culture, way of cooking, religion is a creation of our amazing Mind
5) Our Mind creates amazing concepts, ideas, skills and ways to do things but they do not come from our shared 'humanity' that blinks, coughs and can tighten up our rectum.
6) We cannot escape our Oneness yet we believe we can because of the diversity we create.
7) Any child can be born into any culture, religion and speak any language.
8) Understanding a culture, language or religion is not innate in any of us. We are taught 'how to do things'.

When anyone comes to the OE site, that is the Time to teach them 'how we do things'. Because there are people who have used an 'open democracy' to lead them in 'how we do things'.

How are things working there?

1) Great in many respects
2) Exclusive of many people who wanted to be involved with the Initial OE
3) Wonderful in bringing out people who never felt included.
4) Terrible in the sense that many of the study, education, teach-ins etc are mostly held 'off site'.
5) Great that so many people impacted by homelessness, mental illness, runaways and substance abuse are being fed and have a safe place to live.
6) Terrible in the sense that so many are burned out from doing most of the work

The below is a sample script. It comes from a conversation I had with someone at the camp who is interested in having a Hospitality Group who meets everyone. This script is based on instilling onsite the values and actions that create a 'functional democracy'. A script for maintaining the status quo of an 'open democracy' is fairly well known. 'We are an inclusive group who follow the Rules of Behavior, join a committee, come to the GA, your voice will be heard'.

How every person is introduced to OE is essential. No person innately knows how to fit in or what is acceptable. It must be taught.

The two Principles: KISS (Keep it simple stupid) and KOTO (know one, teach one)

1) First assess whether the person can pay attention.
* No ... send to medical for immediate help and a 'hospitality' person should stay with them. One good question for the GA is what to do with people who come onsite but are not capable of understanding 'how we do things'. This is much better then not sharing that information and then wanting to ask people to leave.
* Yes ... go to 2)

2) Hospitality is there to 'teach' how we do things.

* 'OE is a 'work' Experience'
* 'We are here to learn, help around camp, heal, take positive actions, to study and learn skills'
* 'OE expects you to exercise a high level of self-management, help others maintain the same, entrepreneurship, positive creativity and willingness to work in teamwork and co-operativism.'
* People attend classes, teach-ins, forums/affinity groups and committees so we can form 'the world we want'
* People self-motivate themselves to do the physical work necessary to keep the site functional. We agree to help when asked and we agree to see what needs to be done and do it.


3) Give and go over daily schedule (see other entry Daily Life ... Initial OE versus Now OE)
4) Show them Class Spaces, kitchen, toilets etc
5) Tell them about 'how we do things' about meals: Help out in the kitchen (you are eating here and in a functional democracy if you are enjoying the benefits you participate in the work); bring own dishes/cup and silverware; put down clean plate.
6) Stop and ask person to repeat what they have heard. The ability to explain 'how we do things' becomes the first step to choosing to agree to 'do things this way'.
* No ... bring to medical and have hospitality person go with them. GA has to decide how to deal with people who are not able to understand 'how we do things'. Do you want those people in the core of your community? They will 'do things the way they do things' and this can be very disruptive.
* Yes ... then
7) Show them where to camp
8) Give them sanitary stuff
9) Explain what resources are available: medical, library etc

Say again:
'We work here, we grow, share, help, heal so that OE can show our community that we are building and creating the world we want.

'We use Oregon's statement Principle/Values as a goal of the world we want ... 'A free state is formed and is maintained by the voluntary union of the whole people joined together under the same body of laws for the common welfare and sharing of benefits justly apportioned.'

'With that comes personal responsibility by exercising a high level of self-management, help others maintain the same, entrepreneurship, positive creativity and willingness to work in teamwork and co-operativism.'

'If you have any questions about unacceptable behaviors please ask (You can read the Safety Guidelines)

'Any questions'.

Life is never stagnant. The Site will either build more of the great things or it will build more of the dysfunctional elements. It doesn't just happen. It is learned and taught by the simple phrase 'this is how we do things'.

We must ask ourselves at every moment and every day on site: 'Is this the world we want'.

My conversation with you is about that. Living in very large communities that have used functional democracies (and within their diverse cultures) has taught me that open democracy is an idea but not functional while functional creates the ideal.

Is it too late to instill in camp the way a functional democracy works? I don't believe so but it most come from those people who are guiding the process ... the facilitators and through every committee.

Do I think OE will shift from an open democracy to a functional one? No. My very limited experience on site shows me that certain sectors are already using functional democracy ... kitchen (but it's weakened by the lack of functional democracy in camp) and engineering. However, the overall impression of the camp is this: 'If the world fell apart and this is all we had, it would become chaotic'.

There always must be bottom lines. There are Times when we can wait, learn, adapt and change and there are other Times when we are focused into action right now. Had more people in this community or in any of the communities where Occupy started had been skilled in functional democracy we'd see different things now.

Will you read this as shame, blame and guilt? Some of you will. But ask yourself why. If we want the world we want, we must achieve it. If you believe we must achieve it first by having an open democracy that then becomes overwhelming so that 'rules' begin to take shape to handle the chaos then you are stuck in an ideology and have forgotten the Truths... we are all one humanity but we have no innate capacity to learn 'how we do things'. We must learn 'how-to'.

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