by Mark Jagdev, SNU
A strategy for and by the people?
For the last couple of months I have joined in a variety of peaceful protests, celebrations and collaborative enterprises along with millions of other Occupiers rising up across the globe to usher in a new world. Passers by, media analysts and pundits, invariably asked us what was this new world we all wanted… And of course you know as well as I, the answers remained elusive, confounded those on the right and many on the left! While our demands have been directed towards rooting out political corruption and Corporatocracy - more broadly we have laid claim to occupying everything, everywhere, and as a consequence our demands have become limitless.
As time has gone by the growing number of wishes and dreams expressed through forums such as working groups (WGs) has meant a multiplicity of new events and actions springing up. This means Occupy is dealing with increasingly complex issues across working groups, GAs and the camps. Meanwhile a “pernicious spirit of aesthetic anarchism” signified by the phrase “damn the plan” (see here) or a general attitude against organization is often witnessed. This attitude says Charles Lenchner has led to issues such as high bounce rate, a lack of an engagement ladder and the propensity to attract ‘Disruptive Newcomers and Empowered Insiders’ (see here).
These issues have compelled more and more people to wonder where this movement was going and what strategies people had in mind to scale up from protest and occupation to a social movement.
When I first thought about strategy one of the first things it evoked in my mind was images of chess pieces, military generals, top down decision making, and trophy hunters – the competitive advantage. So what kind of approach to strategy could reflect the movements bottom-up, non-hierarchical nature and give Occupy the collaborativeadvantage? Could we occupy strategy and reclaim the term “strategy” for and by the people? To begin answering these questions this blog post centers on the discussions of the Strategic Planning WG (SPWG) of Occupy Venice, CA.More...