What I see can be accomplished from "Occupy London"

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What I see can be accomplished from "Occupy London"  Empty Re: What I see can be accomplished from "Occupy London"

Post  Michael_Donnely on Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:52 am

What Is The Immediate Focus Of Occupy London ON? by Londoner

This is not a General Assembly mic check, nor does it claim to speak on behalf of the community. However, it is just a local citizen's essay.

First of all, Occupy London, quite contrary to what some Londoners fear, is in fact not "protesting in the face of the local people about things they have no way to satisfy". In other way, it is not a condescending lecturing of the uneducated. All Londoners are invited to participate with the Londoners who are already involved. It is a democratic forum. It is a participatory democratic forum for ALL Londoners. There is no "you" vs. "me". There is no "us" vs. "them". It's not like Occupy is the "99%" and the local London community is the "1%". It is an open-armed invitation to unity of the community.

Secondly, it is not an ongoing protest focusing on a particular local issue that pits protesters against the local establishment, which seems to be tempest in a teapot in the global big picture. Occupy London ON is in fact quite global in its outlook. And it is not invalidated by the fact that it cannot find immediate local issues that action upon these rather urgent global concerns.
Occupy London ON continues to find global focal points such as the Greek Default; the continued suppression of Syrian people's democratic aspiration by a brutal regime; the corruption of global financial elites; the prospects for living standards of people in our society, and throughout the world under uncertain global economic climate; the ambitions of some of the worlds' most powerful military machines and the corporate interests behind them; the encroaching developments of regionalization and trade blocs and their impacts on democracy and the people's economic freedoms; the role of social movements for equality, and empowerment of marginal groups etc.

Many of these discourses are essential to talk about. But in the past, in a complacent, cynical, apathetic, and consumerist society, there were very few outlets for individuals to express them. Now we've found a democratic forum to network with each other, to experiment with empowering, and cooperatively developing our community, to create a new culture, and to train ourselves into a more alert, more articulate, more sensitive, more pluralistic, more disciplined, more expressive, and more adaptable democratic force.

Therefore, the maintaining, and the sustaining of this participatory democratic forum, and its subsequent "fractals": the large and small democratic salons that will spring up throughout this city's public spaces, is ESSENTIAL to understanding the immediate goal and cause of Occupy London Ontario.

This said, I want to point out two more things:

1) there may not seem to be "global" issues that such a local democratic forum with global outlook can action upon through its its localized focus, but such actions are not far away:

CETA is nearing being ratified:

This tour began on April 29 in Calgary and events have been held in Montreal (May 24), Toronto (May 26), Saskatoon (May 30), Winnipeg (June 27), Halifax (June 28), St. John's (June 29), Moncton (Sept. 10), Hamiltion (Sept. 27), Windsor (Sept. 28), Abbotsford (Oct. 11), Vancouver (Oct. 12), Victoria (Oct. 13), and Ottawa (Oct. 19). Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was committed to proceeding ‘full-throttle’ on CETA and on having the deal signed by January 1, 2012.

In a usual apathetic society, CETA would be like the 800 pound gorilla that nobody talks about. But now we talk about it. And we do have an impact on our municipal government: Municipal governments need a say on CETA:
All Occupy movements should petition a CETA resolution in their own communities.

Also, London is at the heart of blue-ness in recent Federal and Provincial elections. The Harper government was not really elected by Canada's majority, considering the aweful voter turnout.

The strength of participatory democracy in the heartland of complacence, selfishness and cynicism, will forever transform municipal, provincial, and federal politics. The Orange Tide in Quebec did show how a public can stand up to undemocratic elite corporate interests. But now we are talking about something far more powerful, with far greater potential to fundamentally change a system.

Should we be talking about a much transformed federal and provincial party politics landscape as in something like a "General Assembly Party", or "Occupy Interest Group"? Such potentials are not excluded. However, things that confirm to old patterns are nonetheless not desired. Participatory, and direct democracy is something that will eventually overturn the divisiveness, and disempowering traps of the old party political system. Will it take a gradualist approach, perhaps gradual infiltration, or adaptation of old structures, institutions piecemeal, in order to transform it? I don't know. All this remains to be seen.

2) Secondly, there will be on-going local focuses and tactics. For example, it is necessary to identify immediately hostile forces within the local establishment/authority towards Occupy London ON.

And, the immediate goals of such local focuses/tactics should be: to preserve the fragile existence of the new-born democratic forum brought to life by converging historical forces, and to further it into something more permanent and more system-transforming.

Having such immediate, local focuses/tactics focused on negotiating, dialoging with local authorities, doesn't mean that they are the inherent adversaries of an Occupy movement that is both *Globally Oriented and *Locally Rooted. "Fighting local authorities", eventually in the global scheme of things, is "tempest in a teapot".

However, such local focuses and tactics are necessary, especially with regards to the Sidney and Oakland experiences. Solidarity with Occupy movements such as Sidney and Oakland must be expressed, and must necessarily be expressed with much local sensitivity, so that it is not "in your face", but "in solidarity with the maximum reach of local Londoners who are, or can potentially be, sympathetic". The expression of solidarity with other cities' Occupy movements is not to alienate London ON's Occupy movement from its local surroundings, but precisely to further its purpose of *sustaining a London ON participatory democratic forum, with the immediate focus/tactic of interacting with local authorities, so that such democratic forum may flourish, and made permanent, and transform into ALL Londoners' participatory democratic spaces.

With this objective clear, the immediate, local focuses/tactics involving local authorities, should therefore, be conducted with no perverseness, and with maximum amount of mutual understanding, goodwill, trust, peace, friendliness, patience, and confidence.

They too, have the potential of joining the 99%.


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What I see can be accomplished from "Occupy London"  Empty What I see can be accomplished from "Occupy London"

Post  Michael_Donnely on Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:51 am

*)) As winter sets in, the Vic Park at the Tank camp may become stable. Hopefully nobody would try to forcefully evict its occupiers. First accomplishment: Vic Park at the Tank will become a permanent Public Space for discourses of participatory democracy, inspiring arts and social activities that bond Londoners towards a new collectivism espousing many new values and credal statements, among them the "Declaration of Safe Space" is but one example.
Safe Space Statement

*)) At the same time, the Occupiers will develop more long-term strategies to engage public discourses. These include regular
intellectual/social salons in conjunction with drum circles and poetry reading events at yoga studios, libraries, parks, AND ESPECIALLY abandoned churches!

"Old Abandoned Church Project" will utilize the abandoned, and almost abandoned spaces in the local chapels as weekly activity spaces for intellectual salons as well as fun activities.

There are churches that are still attached to their own parishes/congregations but are worrying that the lack of utility may force them to shut down. Out of respect for these parishes, we will call these spots "Old Churches".

As for the ones that are currently officially abandoned, we should have no problem calling them Old Abandoned Churches. And we should refer to these activity spaces as "Old Abandoned Churches".

for details please read: Old Abandoned Church Project

*)) The meat and potato issue of What Will Be Accomplished by Occupy London: A lot of the social discussions at these Old Abandoned Churces will be on Globalization and the People's Livelihoods.

Also, much will be devoted to discussions on "how to mobilize our new collective consciousness towards participatory democracy and the empowerment of the politically apathetic segments of society".

Then, we talk about developing alternative models for our future. Please see the next accomplishment:

*)) Since much of the efforts on alternative community developments will focus on a new, environmentally sustainable culture, there will be these cultural public spaces called "Earth Cafe" set up eventually, at the most beautiful spots in our city: along the river, by the forest... etc.
Please see: "Earth Cafe: The New Stopping Station For Neohippies and World Travelers"

"Earth Cafes", like yoga studios and Old Abandoned Churches, are also public spaces and intellectual/social salons. But they are dedicated towards the more positive side of our future: constructing a new culture, rather than heavily focusing on the negative aspects such as the dystopian, crumbling old model of globalization.


The Earth Cafe is an actual cafe (or a network of coop coffee shops) that promotes global alternative culture(s) awareness, environmental movement(s) awareness, community building movement(s) awareness and socially/culturally-conscious subcultures and music awareness.

Earth Cafe adheres to its ideas of socially/culturally-conscious food culture and environment management.

Ideally it should have architectures that reminds us of world cultures, especially traditional wooden structures of the "roofs of the world".

What are the "roofs of the world"?

1) The Himalayas. It starts from the Bengals, to Darjeeling, to Assam, then to Nepal's Kathmandu Valley, and eventually ending up in the highest peaks like the Chomolangma. The Pamirs, including Chitral and Gilgit, Ladakh and Mustang, are part of the Himalayas.

2) The Andes. It started in the western edges of the Amazon Jungle, and venture deep into Bolivia, Ecuador. It plateaus on the Peruvian highlands. There are names like Macchu Pichu, Cuzco, Nazca. And it runs down to Chile. These are names like Cochabamba.

---Minor Roofs of the World----

3) The Pyrenees: From the Aran Valley to Santiago de Compostela, a path (camino) of pilgrimage

4) The Caucasus

5) The Balkan Mountains

6) The Rif and the Atlas of North Africa

7) The Alps and the Apennine

The names of individual chambers in the Earth Cafe should be named after places around these "roofs of the world".

The Earth Cafe sort of perches on a wooded hill with a bit of elevation, and covered by shades of taller trees from behind. It has a wooded yard, where musicians can hold events in the open.

Some of its chambers have Indian porches/patios shaded by laced blinds, and looking down towards the yard. There are some tree houses in the wooded yard.

There are Tibetan Prayer Flags hanging around. There is Nepali incense burned. There are lots of artifact musical instruments around, like the Australian rain maker. Guests who demonstrate skills to play can entertain others with these instruments.

The coffee beans are all fair trade. So are the great varieties of teas. If guests request, Earth Cafe can make special teas from artisan tea pots or samovars. Earth Cafe makes great curry dishes. Earth Cafe celebrates third world staples like maize, rice, potatoes, beans, peanuts, and the spices. Baked sweets based on recipes from around the world are popular among tea and coffee drinkers.

The Earth Cafe also does organic farming. It's "Cafe Bookclub" has books and pamphlets on how to build a local communities that cooperate to bring about an organic local food bartering or alternative currency system. Also there are books and pamphlets on the local youth collaborative art projects. These communities organize "idea cafe's" at the Earth Cafe.

You can find a collection of drums, masks, and spiritual artifacts from different indigenous cultures around the world. You will also find a great collection of Lonely Planet books and National Geographic.

Key points:

- Earth Cafe puts away the worry that the 60s are dead because people are "subjugated by a system of atomization and narcissism". Because it is clearly a meeting place of regeneration and revival of the spirit of liberation and enlightenment.

- Earth Cafe revives our youths who are spiritually morbid or spiritually unimaginative.

- Earth Cafe sort of gives you a "remote mountain retreat" without making you monks who have renounced involvement in the world as laypeople.

above is from
"Earth Cafe: The New Stopping Station For Neohippies and World Travelers"

*)) Lastly, from these new "Earth Cafes" of alternative community development, there will spring forth designs for environmentally sustainable communities, either transforming existing municipal landscape, or developing outside of the city as a new community.

please read: The Four Stages Theory of Ecological Socioeconomic Development


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