The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

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The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:58 am

This is a response to Terry Bain's recent contribution to the #Occupy thread, a response to this blog:
http://www.activistpost.com/2012/03/com ... ccupy.html

The Delphi Technique is presented as such:

Guy Who Doesn't Like to Read Source Material wrote:Essentially, the Delphi Technique, which was originally developed by RAND in the 1950s as a psychological weapon and infiltration mechanism, is also a proven method by which movements can be co-opted and redirected for ulterior purposes.


This is horseshit, plain and simple. I referred Terry to the wikipedia summary of what the actual RAND Delphi techinque is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi_method

It's a pre-internet version of crowd-sourcing, with an eye towards consensus. I can see why that word gives anyone with divergent opinions the shivers, and there's a lot of ominously Machiavellian social science research conducted under the banner of that seemingly innocuous keyword. However, opinions and biases don't change facts...just perceptions.

I first came across the Delphi Technique many years ago when I was investigating education in America, and it was first presented to me in the exact same terms: RAND think tank perfects a system for co-opting and controlling public meetings and groups. It made compelling sense.

My problem, as usual, was wanting to know more. This is always when narratives fall apart. The dissolve into a constellation of mere data points, often complex and conflicting. (Nobody wants a 1:1 map of reality, though, we just want to tell each other stories, right? I actually don't enjoy being the asshole who's always saying "actually..." and I hardly ever do in IRL anymore.)

The excellently curated site http://conspiracyarchive.com had some articles that gave a more nuanced, less alarmist picture:
http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/NewAge ... hnique.htm

First sentence: "The Delphi Technique was originally conceived as a way to obtain the opinion of experts without necessarily bringing them together face to face." A reasonable summary, although it omits the impetus behind the whole project: the need to achieve a workable consensus on controversial issues on the frontiers of science where no easy & established answers existed. RAND was playing on the fringes back then, that's now the specialty of other operations as RAND settles into old & august NatSec welfare instead of continuing to pursue innovation.

As the article correctly goes on to note, it was Christian homeschooling activist and researcher Bev Eakman ("Educating for the New World Order") who began to paint the Delphi technique very differently. I like Eakman quite a bit, and she was one of the early authors who made me appreciate how much I can learn from people I vehemently disagree with. Her research was impressively & obsessively thorough, and her conclusions were often laughably hysterical. This is when I started learning to parse my sources and it was an invaluable lesson.

Just the same, man, did she ever bork up the Delphi Technique. She claimed it was directly related to "The Alinsky Method" -- let's just take second to consider the lunacy of that: a military industrial, eminently conservative think tank collaborating and conspiring with a Jewish socialist community organizer to infiltrate and neutralize community activism. I'm a student of spooks, and even by the standard of strange bedfellows, that one is a bit of stretch.

The real problem, though, was that Bev Eakman introduced "rules" for the Delphi Technique that she'd invented whole and passed off as actual documentation. Her version of Delphi appears exactly nowhere in the RAND monographs. That's pretty problematic to me, since it bears a remarkable resemblance to "lying." I'm sure her intentions were pure, though -- zero sarcasm, she was a true believer with a good heart.

It's important to note that Eakman only used these curious mistakes as a foundation -- they were never re-examined, only built upon. She even wrote a whole book about it, "How to Counter Group Manipulation Tactics" which is quite lucid and useful despite the poisoned fruit of false assumptions and mangled history. This is a hallmark of the Conspiratainment Complex: all past work is raw material for future product, there's very little critical assessment going on.

Long Story, Short

Is #Occupy being infiltrated by bad actors who intend to subvert the process? Absolutely.

Does that have anything to do with the Delphi Technique? Absolutely not.

It's being invoked because it sounds serious and adds a narrative weight to the argument. It's being brandished as a heavy object, just like "free market" psyops hacks like to use "Complexity Theory" or "Network Laws" -- it makes you sound smart, and the material in question is dense enough so that most folks, even those who want to learn more, will be intimidated by the size and scale of the field.

And yet....that fucking wikipedia page, right? You'd think it's not that hard to fact-check Brandon's article, considering that the text on that page directly contradicts his entire description of the process.

To insist that the "Delphi Technique" consists of more than it does is fiction, pure and simple. #Occupy has a lot to be concerned about, it does not need to be jumping at shadows and living in fear of ghosts. I am not sympathetic to the argument that "Delphi Technique has become functional short hand for blah blah blah" because I'm a huge fan of words having actual meanings. I think that's very important to communication, and I don't expect that stance to change anytime soon.

Then again, if you get me in a big enough group....
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby JackRiddler » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:06 pm

I'm pleased that you put it this way:

Wombaticus Rex wrote:It's important to note that Eakman only used these curious mistakes as a foundation -- they were never re-examined, only built upon. She even wrote a whole book about it, "How to Counter Group Manipulation Tactics" which is quite lucid and useful despite the poisoned fruit of false assumptions and mangled history. This is a hallmark of the Conspiratainment Complex: all past work is raw material for future product, there's very little critical assessment going on.


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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby Simulist » Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:54 pm

I really appreciate both of you. When I think back on all the bullshit I used to believe, I'm inspired to re-evaluate all the probable bullshit I'm believing now.
"The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego."
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby justdrew » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:01 pm

John Brunner talks about Delphi pools (which people could bet on (an idea ol' whatshisname tried to make sorta real with his terrorism futures market (the TIA guy))) in Shockwave Rider

a book everyone should read.
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:00 pm

^^Poindexter, John. Dude is so earnest and helpless, I almost feel bad for him.

Thanks for the heads up on "Shockwave Rider," I'd never heard of that title, muchas gracias.
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby TerryBain » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:31 pm

Thanks for the input guys - Some background: We are having growing pains at Occupy America (http://occupyamerica.ning.com/) We limited out on new members about a week after we started, and are just now beginning to migrate to occupyamericasocialnetwork.com so that we can accommodate membership levels higher than 150. Until we can get people's input like you guys, over there, i appreciate the chance to use this as a soundingboard to try to get some critical thinking going.

Rex - "Poindexter, John. Dude is so earnest and helpless, I almost feel bad for him." Really...Former National Security Advisor Vice Admiral Poindexter could be truthfully characterized as many things - earnest or helpless ain't something I can agree with. Let's agree to disagree on that - table that for now.

I agree that "Shockwave Rider" looks interesting - will put that on my reading list, too.

I concur with Rex and Riddler that Eakman, "...even wrote a whole book about it, "How to Counter Group Manipulation Tactics" which is quite lucid and useful...." Now we're getting somewhere. I fully concur with Rex, "Is #Occupy being infiltrated by bad actors who intend to subvert the process? Absolutely."

So, if we can agree, for the purpose of further progress, to refrain from calling the technique "Delphi" for now. I propose we call it the Wombat technique, so that we can consider "lucid and useful" practices to "Counter Group Manipulation Tactics" which is resulting in "...#Occupy being infiltrated by bad actors who intend to subvert the process...."

Now can we discuss the Podcast Interview Occupy issues, please.
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:57 pm

TerryBain wrote:Now can we discuss the Podcast Interview Occupy issues, please.


Here's the main interview Terry's referring to so other folks can grok:
http://occupyamerica.ning.com/profiles/ ... ion-of-ows

I'm on a mountaintop so that's a 5 hour download I'm 3 hours into, it'll be awhile yet but I'll be on it later tonight.

Also....man, what an iconic shot:

Image
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:54 pm

Hat tip to Jack Riddler, this is a gem and it's germane to boot:

JackRiddler wrote:Lisa Fithian wrote all about Brandon Darby herself here:
http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/ ... andon.html

Piece is too complicated to cut and paste because of photos, I don't have time right now, so check it out!

This part worth quoting:


Behaviors of Brandon’s or others that enabled this kind of damage to be done.

1. Deferring or listening to men, as opposed to women and/or attacking women in leadership positions. Our patriarchal society has taught us this and we need to deconstruct it.
2. Charisma and confidence enabled him to assume leadership and control -- people deferred even though he had little experience. He cultivated a handful of women and men to become personal assistants who did a lot of his work for him.
3. Assuming credibility by his associations -- Brandon tried to associate himself with other high profile organizers in the activist community.
4. Preying on and exploiting people’s vulnerabilities and insecurities, particularly using alcohol or other addictions. He liked to “play with people's minds."
5. Bullying. All bullies abuse their power and people let them do what they want because they are afraid of what will happen if they do not go along. They use their physical prowess to intimidate both women and men.
6. Disrupting group process in meetings, derailing agendas, questioning process, challenging others, or not coming to meetings at all to avoid accountability. Or using secrecy and sub-groups to divide the whole.
7. Pointing fingers at and ‘snitch-jacketing’ other people, accusing them of being cops, FBI agents, etc. This kept everyone on guard, and created an environment of suspicion and distrust.
8. Seducing people using power or sex, leaving a lot of pain and destabilized situations in his wake or provoking people to do acts they would not do on their own.
9. Being persistent and pursuing people, by calling them repeatedly or showing up at their homes, inviting them for coffee, he would wear you down, or find other ways back into important relationships.
10. Being an emotional/physical wreck, becoming very needy and seducing people into taking care of him. Then people would defend him because of his emotional vulnerabilities or physical needs.
11. Time and energy suck. Talk endlessly, consuming hours of time and energy -- confusing, exhausting, and indoctrinating.
12. Being helpful or useful -- showing up when you most needed support. Brandon would arrive with tools, money, or whatever was needed at just the right time.
13. Documenting through videotaping or photographing actions but never using it or working on communications systems which he attempted at the RNC.


Now we must be careful about lists like this! I'd say if I saw all of these things together in a person who was causing disruption at every turn, then they would be obvious as parts of an overall strategy. However, any one of these signs or any combination of a few of them is still overwhelmingly likely to be something other than the result of an intentional disruption strategy. I'd say Lisa Fithian was right to trust her nose, but the utility of trying to reconstruct why her nose was right after the fact, as though one can make a definitive checklist for catching Them in our midst, is questionable. I would trust her nose! I'd also trust my own nose, after a second or third check. But telling people to trust your nose is not usually persuasive if they're not smelling it (or convincing themselves they're not smelling it).

I've bolded two items. No. 7 is always a problem, and illustrates the paradoxes. Those who were accusing Darby were absolutely right, but Darby was busy accusing everyone else. I'd say at least 80 percent of such accusations are paranoid bullshit thrown by non-snitches at non-snitches. Real snitches and disruptors, however, will always make such accusations! Few tactics of disruption are more widespread or effective if people don't keep their wits and humor about them.

No. 12 is even more paradoxical, because in the absence of any of these other signs of disruptive intent, it would be the sign of the best damn activist in the universe.


I would also note that Brandon Darby never talks about the Delphi Technique ever because he didn't use it. Most agents aren't tasked with disruption or co-opting anything, they're tasked with either surveillance or entrapment, and usually both. Of course, the caveat here is that the data points we can draw from are only the agents who step forward and make busts, or get busted themselves. There could be a whole other invisible species. (..."wilderness of mirrors" comes to mind...)

I wish I had a copy of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress so I could transcribe the whole conversation about designing resistance movements, because it's an incredible passage. I'll settle for what I can scrounge on google...

Saint Heinlein wrote:"As to basic structure, a revolution starts as a conspiracy - therefore structure is small, secret, and organized as to minimize damage by betrayal — since there always are betrayals. One solution is the cell system and so far nothing better has been invented ... I think that history shows that a cell of three is best — more than three can't agree on when to have dinner, much less when to strike. When the number is as high as four, chances are even that one is a spy."

"Every new member made it that more likely that you would be betrayed...revolutions are not won by enlisting the masses. Revolution is a science only a few are competent to practice. It depends on correct organization and, above all, on communications. Then, at the proper moment in history, they strike. Correctly organized and properly timed it is a bloodless coup. Done clumsily or prematurely and the result is civil war, mob violence, purges, terror. I hope you will forgive me if I say that, up to now, it has been done clumsily."

"Organization must be no larger than necessary -- never recruit anyone merely because he wants to join. As to basic structure, a revolution starts as a conspiracy; therefore structure is small, secret and organized as to minimize damage by betrayal -- since there are always betrayals. One solution is the cell system and so far nothing better has been invented."

"stickiest problems in conspiracy are [b]communications and security, and they conflict
— the easier are communications, greater is risk to security; if security is tight, organization can be paralyzed by safety precautions."


The Cell System is adequately explained here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clandestine_cell_system

This core problem -- that malintent infiltration agents are behaviorally indistinguishable from earnest & authentic participation -- has also been addressed mathematically in the classic paper "The Dining Freemasons"
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mkb23/research ... masons.pdf

Of course, that secrecy is anathema to #Occupy. #Occupy is not about coups or secret societies. You can't have an open movement AND #OpSec -- operational security. I am interested in the potential for balance in the grey zone, however.
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:01 am

1. There's not a lot in the mp3 that wasn't already discussed in Brandon Turbeville's original article.

2. Brandon asserts that the General Assembly process is itself a deliberate handicap that was put into place by "infiltrators." Essentially, he's saying that the originators of the #Occupy movement are enemy agents. @8:50 "It's not that the general assembly itself was corrupted. It's the the infiltrators came in and gave the Occupy movement the General Assembly itself, because the very act of consensus based decision making is...it bogs down the movement."

If either of you believe that to be true, why are you involved?

3. I do find it troubling that, given the long history of non-violent movement, protest sociology studies, activist training, alternative community, crowdsourcing and organizational design, the sole alternative this guy is able to come up with is...Robert's Rules of Order. This is definitely a case where I'm not going to regurgitate a bunch of links. This is a bizarre lack of simple research. Google is very easy to use and the internet is rather big.

4. He goes on to recommend bringing friends with you to influence and alter the course of General Assemblies. How does that make you any different from an infiltrator? Why are your goals and beliefs more valid than the person currently facilitating the meeting and the other people assembled there? Can you see why this kind of logic puzzles me?

5. Brandon mentions that the United Nations uses the General Assembly process, which is absurdly wrong. They have a body called the General Assembly. This is not the same thing. Again, Google vs. apophenia.

6. What do you, Terry Bain, feel that the Occupy movement should be doing that it is not doing?
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby TerryBain » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:25 am

Wow - this is what I had hoped would come from reaching out to this discussion board. As I've mentioned before, I am proud to claim to be a friend of Jeff's. I don't always agree with what he says, but I always love the way he says it. I have been reading (lurking?) on this site for years. Hopefully Jeff will let OASN borrow his pen soon. Hopefully you, and some of the other Occupy supporters at RI will also give us your thoughts, as well.

Obviously, we need all the help in the movement that we can get. A movement of the 99% speaks with many voices. Unfortunately, it is hard to understand what that many voices are really trying to say. This generation's Tom Payne is evidently on break.

I think like a historian, so I have a tendency to do everything bass ackwards. With that in mind, let me address what I think the movement should be doing first - that should be what all of us, individually, on this board are trying to do.

The "iconic shot" on the OASN masthead was the subject of one of our earliest blogs. Take a close look at that picture. The 'Media' may claim that they are just trying to keep their jobs, so they have to print lies (I can see the headline ... "protester viciously attacks policeman's leg with his neck.") They are slaves.

Slaves must kneel before their masters, and do what they are told. Only Free men stand. The latin word for standing is where we get the English word “Resist” (the word's origin is from Latin resistere to remain standing, equivalent to re- re- + sistere to cause to stand, akin to stāre to stand at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/resist.)

In the picture at the top of the page, look at the eyes of the policeman, kneeling on the protester. Then look at the eyes of our fellow resister. He is winning. Our stand has made his slave kneel.

We are the free men and women that occupy America. We are a movement without leaders by design. We occupy Wall Street, and Main street – they are all our streets. We will not continue to occupy other people’s streets.

We are an international nation of free men united in a growing open rebellion against our opponent's new world of disorder . Our ambassadors proclaim our foreign policy with music We rap and mosh, but we are not a mob. We walk like Egyptians. We Rage Against the Machine: each of us, individually, has decided we will not "...do what they tell me."

We have no enemy, only opposition. When they no longer oppose us they will be us. We rebel, peacefully, while our opponent uses violence lawlessly against us, (with forces paid for by our own taxes to uphold the law.) We are not yet in revolt, but we are revolted. We rebel, not against them, but against their policy. It is revolting.

We know who our opponents are paid by, and we know their plan. Historian Caroll Quigley calls them the “Money Power” (http://www.carrollquigley.net/pdf/Tragedy_and_Hope.pdf): a foreign power that has occupied our streets for too long. Their occupation of America is over.

We are defeating their plan and winning without violence, at least on our part. We no longer fear what our opponent will do to us – we are making our opponent fear what we are doing to them. That's our flag, lying on the ground, after our fellow resistor was taken down. We need to keep picking it up, until the Money Power can't knock it down any more. We Occupy it.

We need to Occupy the word liberal - (...from L. liberalis "noble, gracious, munificent, generous," lit. "of freedom, pertaining to or befitting a free man," from liber "free...." at http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=liberal.) There used to be liberal Democrats and Republicans - perhaps redefining that term for our own generation is the solution to a two-party system seemingly dedicated to enslaving the 99%. OK, I am through with my rant - but, I feel that is what the Occupy movement should be, and is. I am asking for your voices to help figure out how to do that. Will try to respond to some of the other ideas - again, keep 'em coming, and thanks for standing, y'all.
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:52 am

Wombaticus Rex wrote:2. Brandon asserts that the General Assembly process is itself a deliberate handicap that was put into place by "infiltrators." Essentially, he's saying that the originators of the #Occupy movement are enemy agents. @8:50 "It's not that the general assembly itself was corrupted. It's the the infiltrators came in and gave the Occupy movement the General Assembly itself, because the very act of consensus based decision making is...it bogs down the movement."


Via: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/10 ... al-origins

How Occupy Wall Street Really Got Started
Meet the international activists who lit the fuse for the populist protest movement that's sweeping the world.

Months before the first occupiers descended on Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, before the news trucks arrived and the unions endorsed, before Michael Bloomberg and Michael Moore and Kanye West made appearances, a group of artists, activists, writers, students, and organizers gathered on the fourth floor of 16 Beaver Street, an artists' space near Wall Street, to talk about changing the world. There were New Yorkers in the room, but also Egyptians, Spaniards, Japanese, Greeks. Some had played a part in the Arab Spring uprising; others had been involved in the protests catching fire across Europe. But no one at 16 Beaver knew they were about light the fuse on a protest movement that would sweep the United States and fuel similar uprisings around the world.

The group often credited with sparking Occupy Wall Street is Adbusters, the Canadian anti-capitalist magazine that, in July, issued a call to flood lower Manhattan with 90,000 protesters. "Are you ready for a Tahrir moment?" the magazine asked. But that's not how Occupy Wall Street sprang to life. Without that worldly group that met at 16 Beaver and later created the New York City General Assembly, there might not have been an Occupy Wall Street as we know it today.[b]

The group included local organizers, including some from New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts, but also people who'd taken part in uprisings all over the world. That international spirit would galvanize Occupy Wall Street, connecting it with the protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square and Madrid's Puerta del Sol, the heart of Spain's populist uprising. Just as a comic book about Martin Luther King Jr. and civil disobedience, translated into Arabic, taught Egyptians about the power of peaceful resistance, the lessons of Egypt, Greece, and Spain fused together in downtown Manhattan. "When you have all these people talking about what they did, it opens a world of possibility we might not have been able to imagine before," says Marina Sitrin, a writer and activist who helped organize Occupy Wall Street.

Around 30 people showed up for those first gatherings at 16 Beaver earlier this summer, recall several people who attended. Some of them had just come from "Bloombergville," a weeks-long encampment outside New York City Hall to protest deep budget cuts to education and other public services, and now they itched for another occupation. As the group talked politics and the battered economic landscape in the United States and abroad, a question hung in the air: "What comes next?"

[b]Begonia S.C. and Luis M.C., a Spanish couple who attended those 16 Beaver discussions, had an idea. (They asked that their full names not be used to avoid looking like publicity seekers.) In the spring, they had returned to Spain for the protests sweeping the country in reaction to staggering unemployment, a stagnant economy, and hapless politicians.
On May 15, 20,000 indignados, or the outraged, had poured into Madrid's Puerta del Sol, transforming the grand plaza into their own version of Tahrir Square. Despite police bans against demonstrations, the plaza soon became the focal point of Spain's social media-fueled "15-M Movement" (named for May 15th), which spread to hundreds of cities in Spain and Italy. When they returned to the United States, Begonia and Luis brought the lessons of 15-M with them. At 16 Beaver, they suggested replicating a core part of the movement in the US: the general assembly.

In America, we march, we chant, we protest, we picket, we sit in. But the notion of a people's general assembly is a bit foreign. Put simply, it's a leaderless group of people who get together to discuss pressing issues and make decisions by pure consensus. The term "horizontal" gets tossed around to describe general assemblies, which simply means there's no hierarchy: Everyone stands on equal footing. Occupy Wall Street's daily assemblies shape how the occupation is run, tackling issues such as cleaning the park, public safety, and keeping the kitchen running. Smaller working groups handle media relations, outreach, sanitation, and more. In Spain, general assemblies are hugely popular, forming not just in the cities but in individual neighborhoods, bringing a few hundred people together each week. In some cases, Spanish assemblies have been formed to stop home evictions or immigrant raids.

Why not bring the general assembly to Manhattan, Begonia and Luis suggested. Some said general assemblies were too time-consuming and tedious, but in the end, the idea took hold.

On August 2, the deadline for President Obama and congressional Republicans to cut a debt ceiling deal before the country tipped into default, a small group—some from 16 Beaver, others not—held a general assembly next to the iconic bronze bull in Bowling Green Park, blocks south of Wall Street. Except what was meant to be an assembly became just another rally with speakers and microphones exhorting a mostly passive crowd.

Georgia Sagri, a Greek artist based in New York who was in the crowd that day, watched with dismay. She had also supported forming an assembly, having watched them take shape back in her native Greece. Sagri was tired of the same old rally with a single focus—the death penalty, jobless benefits, immigration reform, you name it. The general assembly, on the other hand, promised a discussion without fixating on an issue or a person. In an assembly, labels or affiliations didn't matter. There in Bowling Green Park, Sagri couldn't wait any longer, and so she and a few others "hijacked," in her words, the August 2 gathering, wrestling it away from your average protest and back in the direction of a real general assembly.

It took some time for the group to get the hang of it—Sitrin describes the early assemblies as "quite awkward"—but when they did the New York City General Assembly, the Big Apple's own experiment in direct democracy, was born. When the assembly hit a snag, members would refer to a document titled "How to cook a pacific #revolution," a how-to guide for general assemblies written by the Spanish and translated into more than a half-dozen languages.
The NYCGA met on Saturdays in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village at 5:30 p.m. and lasted as long as 5 1/2 hours. Afterward, people would regroup at Odessa, Sitrin recalls, a popular diner among the activist set where, over pierogis and potato pancakes, the talk of politics and economics carried on deep into the night.

By that time, Adbusters' rallying cry was in the air. Ricocheting around the web was the magazine's Occupy Wall Street poster, depicting a ballerina pirouetting atop Wall Street's charging bull, while behind her riot police emerged from the mist. Adbusters picked September 17 as its day of action. The New York City General Assembly had talked with members of Adbusters and made the decision to set its sights on the 17th as well. Buzz was forming around that date, and the NYCGA wanted to make a splash.

In other words, if Adbusters provided the inspiration, the NYCGA and other community groups provided the ground game that made Occupy Wall Street a reality. As the appointed day inched closer, the NYCGA settled on an ideal location for Occupy Wall Street: One Chase Manhattan Plaza, the former site of JPMorgan Chase's headquarters just north of Wall Street. Then, on the eve of the big day, the New York Police Department fenced off the plaza. Organizers went back to their list of eight potential locations in Manhattan, ultimately settling on Zuccotti Park. Zuccotti wasn't ideal, but it was close to Wall Street.

No one in the NYCGA anticipated a monthlong protest emerging out of the events of September 17. It just…happened. The occupiers really occupied. A small patch of land in the shadow of Ground Zero's Freedom Tower was transformed into a living, breathing community. The heavy-handed tactics of the NYPD helped, attracting coverage from the TV networks and landing Occupy Wall Street on the front pages of the New York Times and New York Post. The outpouring surprised even the most seasoned activists. "The conversations we were having were about what happened on September 17th," Sitrin says. "We never talked about what might happen three weeks after that."

As the protest wore on, the NYCGA became Occupy Wall Street's daily "people's assembly," which meets each night at 7 p.m. What's more, the idea for an assembly, which grew out of those 16 Beaver discussions, spread to Occupy protests from Boston to Los Angeles. In the eyes of Georgia Sagri, Luis M.C., and Begonia S.C., the widespread use of assemblies here in the US connects the uprisings in America with those Europe and the Middle East like never before. "The real strength of the general assembly comes from the Arab Spring, from Tahrir Square, from Greece and from Spain," Luis says.

Begonia adds: "The people are not here for the American economic crisis. They're here for the crisis of the world."

Just as in those early discussions this summer, the world has come to Occupy Wall Street. In Washington Square Park two Saturdays ago, a band of Egyptians marched through the lively crowd, the Egyptian flag dancing in the breeze. The Egyptians' signs supported Occupy Wall Street and demanded voting rights for Egyptians living abroad. Mayssa Sultan, an Egyptian American who was among the group, says her compatriots decided to support the occupation after hearing that Occupy Wall Street had taken inspiration from the Tahrir Square revolution. "The voices being heard at Occupy Wall Street and all the other occupied cities around the country are very similar to Tahrir," she says, "in that people who don't have work, don't have health care, are seeing education being pulled back, they are trying to make their voices heard."

On Saturday, Occupy Wall Street truly went global. In 951 cities in 82 countries around the world, people marching under the banner of "October 15th" and #GlobalChange protested income inequality, corrupt politicians, and economies rigged to benefit a wealthy few at the expense of everyone else. The #GlobalChange protests were mostly peaceful, though they gave way to rioting in Rome. The same issues fueling #GlobalChange animated the thousands allied with Occupy Wall Street who, on the same day, poured into Times Square, Washington Square Park, and the streets of Manhattan, not to mention the hundreds more Occupy spin-off protests from Berkeley to Boston. It truly was a global day of action, one lifted by the momentum of those never-say-die occupiers hunkered down in Zuccotti Park, who, if not for that early group of activists thinking about the world and how to change it, might not be where they are today.


Damn:

Mother Jones wrote:Begonia adds: "The people are not here for the American economic crisis. They're here for the crisis of the world."


That's quite a reveal.
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby TerryBain » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:09 pm

"that's quite a reveal" - that's kind of what I thought, too. Supporting the occupy movement, while resisting being co-opted should not be mutually exclusive.
I am not very good with the controls on this board, yet, but I found this article interesting, too.
(http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2011/10/ ... ll-street/)
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby justdrew » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:27 pm

I suspect there's some danger of talking the 'movement' to death. There's a risk of this becoming the latest dry rag to sop up a new generation's spilled milk.

Creating the changes we want may require building out a new human-scale infrastructure to meet our basic needs. Requirements would include:
1. an educational program, not limited to but perhaps starting with a required reading list
2. housing options
3. food production
4. healthcare provision and training
5. a separate system of security for our communities
6. etc...

but I don't know, perhaps there are more immediate pragmatic goals to be achieved.
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby TerryBain » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:23 pm

I think a majority of us in the Occupy Movement would agree with at least two major goals. 1.) End the Wars 2.) End the Fed
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Re: The Delphi Technique and #Occupy

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:07 pm

TerryBain wrote:I think a majority of us in the Occupy Movement would agree with at least two major goals. 1.) End the Wars 2.) End the Fed


Nope.

Or, rather, No. 2: not so fast. Depends what you mean by it.

Prosecute the perpetrators of the securities frauds that caused the financial crash of 2007-2008. Liquidate the TBTFs and the ratings agencies who are responsible for the crash. Restore banking regulation and accounting standards to at least the Glass-Steagal level. Create a truly independent and powerful SEC run by regulators, not banking factotums, and put someone like William Black in charge of it. Establish state banking, like in North Dakota, and invest all public funds in those. Open up government credit lines for credit unions and community currencies, not for investment banks. Establish a real central bank under the control of the elected legislature, rather than Wall Street, and invest and open credit to the necessary ecological conversion of infrastructure and economy (that is how "jobs for all" should be created). Create money for infrastructure and conversion projects directly, rather than allowing private banks to create it through instruments on which the people must pay interest. Stop foreclosures. Bring genuine debt relief for the people. Double the tax on the 1 percent.

I think if we submitted that program to the Occupy movement, it would have overwhelming support, 90 percent or more.

As it happens, the diminishing minority within the movement who still front the Ron Paul "End the Fed" slogan that is deceptively associated with Occupy are usually coupling that with total deregulation of anything "private" capital and corporations want to do, flat tax or no tax, gold standard and other voodoo prescriptions for deflation, depression, and even greater wealth inequality than we have today.

Those who started this movement wisely called it Occupy Wall Street, and not "End the Fed." I recall someone asked Tom Morello if he wanted to "end the Fed" and he replied something like, "That's small potatoes." I want to end Wall Street rule. The Fed is a tool of the Wall Street banks. It is their own privatized branch of the government. It should be turned into a real central bank brought under the control of an elected legislature.
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