via PIMC. Feb 13, 2012:
Occupy Was A Set Of Tactics That Worked Amazingly Well, But…
The occupy movement surprised me by becoming a great success, even though I initially had no expectation of that. I thought it was insane to pitch tents in big cities, and to conduct “General Assemblies” to make decisions by consensus, with goofy “twinkling,” etc. I think I was right about it being insane, but nevertheless it was extremely effective. On the other hand, I doubt that these tactics will again be used often, simply because they are far too labor intensive. Even if the “bang for the buck” is worth the effort, there simply are practical limits on the amount of effort people can afford to invest. I cannot begin to afford the effort of pitching a tent in a city and then attempting to protect my gear while going out “foraging” for my physical needs. I cannot spend half a day at some “General Assembly” vainly attempting to reach some consensus by way of chanting and twinkling. It just takes too much energy.
Also, I have no faith in consensus decision making. This is due to my experiences with intentional communities (“communes”). It absolutely is common knowledge in the intentional community movement that consensus decision making only works when members of a community are only admitted after years of associate membership, and there thus is very tight cohesion within the group. Because if there isn’t, a shadow power elite always takes over, and a 99% syndrome automatically results. Probably most communities are not that cohesive, and for them, solidarity becomes miserable conformity. To avoid this I recommend majority rule. We are often cautioned that democracy leads to majoritarian tyranny, but that is mostly just an excuse for the disempowerment of the people. I have found that 80% of the time, a majority will respect the rights of minorities. In fact, it is far more common to find ruling elite minorities trampling the rights of majorities! By the way, padded score voting provides more options and focus than plurality voting. If there are four proposals, simple plurality voting only lets you vote for one of the four. But with padded score voting, you could give 0, 10, 11, or 12 votes to each proposal. You could give 12 votes to one proposal, and 10 to another, and thus have more strategic focus in order to get what you prefer. If you continually are unable to get what you prefer, you would simply quit the group and join another. You shouldn’t have to conform excessively!
Another great problem with the General Assemblies is that they are extremely easy to infiltrate and disrupt, mostly because of their size and monolithic nature. I think “circles” or “affinity groups” should be strictly limited to having, say, four to eighteen members. Then there could be hundreds of circles, and so it would be almost impossible to infiltrate them all. And these circles could send two, three, or four delegates (depending on the size of their membership) to larger “alliances.” And there should be many individual alliances, perhaps 12 in a large city. Not only will this impede infiltration, but it will allow for the existence of groups with differing tactics, demands, and even philosophies.
Not everyone agrees with me, but I am convinced that times are about to get very hard indeed, and we will have to temper idealism with realism. There are three kinds of groups that are especially significant. There is one group that I call the “oligarchists” — these are the power elite, or the 1%. Now, there are super rich people, such as trust fund supported playboys, who are not part of the 1%, and there are not-so-rich people, such as military commanders, who are. All the rest of us are the 99%. Some of us are “equalitists.” These include most of the socialists, anarchists, etc., and tend to embrace things like safety nets, anti-war, and various other assorted predilections, some more coherently interconnected than others. But there are other political cohorts that think quite differently, some of which are sincere, and some of which are oppressive. I call the sincere ones “privatists.” The Oathkeepers might be a good example of these. They tend to exalt “private ownership,” strong emphasis on religion, “rugged individuality,” and so on. They do not think as equalitists do, but they are sincere, and definitely not on the side of the oligarchists. In the current economic and military world crisis, wherein the 1% are poised to destroy our freedoms, international dignity, and economic security, they should be part of our resistance — since our very survival will depend on an acceptance of realism. I say the privatists should have their own circles and alliances, and we should all work together against the oligarchists’ agenda.
We are going to need solidarity without conformity if we wish to survive.
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