Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Portland: stuff that happened this week, stuff that could happen in the future

On Wednesday, one guy was yelling "open the street! open the street!" in front of the barricaded street between the two occupied park blocks. I talked with him and some other folks out there for about an hour. (The street is now open again; the police arrested 8 barricaders Thursday morning after politely allowing any barricaders who didn't want to be arrested to vacate the street.)

The General Assembly, which invites anyone to attend, speak, and vote, is pretty established as the governing body for the occupied blocks and related activities, such as marches. So we've already succeeded in establishing a foothold for direct democracy. I think most of us would like for that model to expand outward -- for all kinds of living communities, working communities, recreational spaces, etc. to be governed by the people involved rather than by pre-established hierarchies. People working in a factory could form a General Assembly and start deciding for themselves how to run the factory rather than taking orders from executives. The General Assembly model seems OK for now, and preferable to the other currently existing, hierarchical governing bodies, such as companies and governments, but I think it will inevitably quickly evolve into other models, probably online democratic systems, like I've been blogging about for years. The New Yorkers are already launching an online system for conducting their General Assemblies.

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