What is leadership in a leaderless movement?

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.

What is leadership in a leaderless movement?

Postby TheGreatRenewal » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:38 pm

At this point my hope is that anyone who reads these posts will come to understand that I'm sharing deep, productive skills learned from other human beings who live in a skillful manner in all parts of their lives. Their skills and participation are the foundation of their community success.

There is never a leaderless community and there will never be a leaderless movement. OE has never been leaderless. As long as people carry that illusion then the language they use will continue to perpetuate the illusion. It's like using the word 'natural' in childbirth to imply 'safe and easy'. That's an illusion. Anything and everything that can happen in birth is 'natural'.

Often we use words carelessly and claiming that OE is leaderless is carelessness and is a part of why it's so difficult to organize those who are living On Site and bringing those Off Site to participate.

For the very beginning there have been leaders ... whether that leader is a gifted facilitator or someone knocking up the walls of the kitchen. Sadly people who want Occupy Movement to be 'leaderless' are not focusing on how we have positive leaders (and why) and how we move people into leadership roles. Just as the natural birth movement is so reactive to the medical profession those who are reactive to the present system seem to want something so different yet that difference is not often based on ability to put it into practice. In other words, reaction against something is not replaced by anything that has sustainable functionality.

Love is not enough. People have to know how to behave lovingly in tone of voice and actions.

By creating an illusion of 'leaderlessness' then OE becomes a place where anyone can do anything under the banner 'you have no authority'. This is part of the chaos too often experienced on site.

How often should chaos be part of the Occupy Movement's Onsite? Not once a day or once a week or once a month. There is no successful community where chaos frequently occurs in the center of the village. There are definitely communities where chaos exists but everyone becomes fearful. Is that the world we want?

We must not only acknowledge 'the leaders', we need to grow more ... KOTO (know one, teach one). We should have multiple leaders in every aspect of life so they can relieve each other. We should make certain there are people learning to become learners because that is how success is transmitted from one to another ... by intent.


If there is a project that needs to be done, the person/people with the most skills should work together in consensus and bring their skills to the project. Any project has pieces parts. No leader should be taking on all pieces of every project. That's controlling and does not serve the greater purpose ... growing more skilled people in the community.

If there are 10 pieces of that bigger project then 10 other leaders should be appointed by the leader/leader group. Those appointed leaders of these pieces then become responsible for gathering those who will help them. This is not the role of the primary leaders. Every sub-leader knows who has the skills to do that one piece.

Therefore we now have two layers of leaders. Sometimes there are 3 or 4 layers. The sub-leaders then report back to the primary leaders who can help bring the whole project together.

The skills that are needed is the intention that people work together for the common good of the bigger project.

People need to have the skills to work for the greater good of the project rather then just do what they want. Having said this I'll write about Consensus again because what I hear in the meetings ... from committees to GAs is a fundamental lack of skills in the best skills that make consensus really work. I've talked a little about that in Systemic Change Committee.

There was a person the other day who told me 'we're not going to use skills that some traditional people have used for a thousand years' .. or something like that. In other words, this person either believed that these skills existed outside us. The reason I returned to the US is to share them in a simple manner.

Humans have amazing Minds. We can look back in Time and see what we've done. If we had the OE site to do over could we bring more of these skills into the formation of this community? My hope is that the answer is yes. Imagine if many of us shared these skills.

Another person told me 'well that's just your opinion'. Actually no, it's skills. If what they were advocating was working then why would I want to change what is already working well?

Another person told me that the folks who are unhoused, have mental illness or substance abuse would not buy in. In all communities there are people who don't participate ... a fraction of 1%!

How do you bring people into the success of a community when they are familiar with living outside? I'll discuss that later as well.

If you have any interest in growing the skills I've been outlining in Systemic Change and in General discussions please contact me outside at wintergreenATbirthingbetter.com
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