Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Structure of Occupy

In addition to GA, there are work groups in Occupy Wall Street. The workgroups are many and they are all ad hoc. My favorite type of "get it done" organizing. In the organizational development and facilitation world these are simply affinity groups; people gather around issues that matter to them and they work on stuff for the benefit of all. This is not unlike what corporations do to manage work teams, but there are different core values. This spokes model explains it well.

Some of the workgroups support the existence of the group itself. I learned that some of the groups that had emerged at Zucotti Park (a.k.a. Liberty Park, which was it's name when it was a public park) were the following: direct action, kitchen, legal facilitator training, non-violence training, kitchen workers, clean up, finance, media, medical and music. All of them serving the occupation. The groups converge on the GA and diverge in to groups. They are learning as they go. 

What are they learning? How to be the type of society they want to be a part of, I think. I recall a moment when the finance work group at Occupy Maine's GA, reported how they would be managing transparency. It was modeling how they want to see business done. Very Nice.

What is Occupy Wall Street? It is a constant conversation about changes people want to make in the world around them. It is shifting the discourse from talk into walk. It reminds me a lot of designing change strategies of World Cafe, Open Space and Art of Hosting. All the methodologies that fit so well with the large-scale systems change work that I love and used in the Community Conversations Project; the collaborative social action group I managed in 2008.

As I watched the process of a GA, Oct 1, I was impressed with the inclusion, communication, consensus building work that was being done. The is a need for facilitators here in Maine for a local social action to take root.

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