Occupy Floundered Because It Didn’t Understand Power…

In the beginning Occupy was brought together by a glorious idea with a lovely spirit- people from diverse parts of society can come together and make a plan for a better world. Occupiers came to campaign for their right to drink unpasteurized milk, eliminating poverty, economic reform, government reform,  union reform, and many others. But, the movement’s big mistake is that it tried to operate without leaders- or, at least pretend that leadership didn’t exist…

The problem is that leadership did exist, in every corner of the movement- it couldn’t not have. Humans have been socialized to need power structures. Even those who deny the need for power still have organic instincts to lead or to want to be led. To say otherwise is to live in denial.

Leadership doesn’t have to imply oppression. If used right, it helps magnify an organization’s ability to do good. Of course, used poorly, it can be a restraining force. And, any time there’s a power vacuum, there are those who will try to take the reigns.

There was a mismatch in how Occupy focussed on ‘organizing’ while, at the same time claiming individual autonomy. Humans don’t organize very well without leadership. Many are uncomfortable with that, and would like to see it changed. Perhaps that can be done- but, denial of our natural instincts won’t make that happen.

The key difference between leadership and oppression is trust. If we don’t believe in our leaders than we are in a de facto state of oppression. The same happens if our leaders don’t respect our trust.

In any organisation larger than a family unit, trust is maintained through transparency and auditability. The members must understand the leader’s intent and plan of action. They must have the ability to see honest reports and assessments of how the organization is progressing- both good and bad.

Perhaps, one day, society will learn how to function without leaders- but it is certainly an uphill battle to achieve that. Until then, we need to work with what we’ve got while improving it along the way. Throwing leadership out the window without a commonly accepted plan was suicide.

But, of course, this doesn’t only apply to Occupy- it rings true for society as a whole…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.genuinewitty.com/2012/08/28/occupy-floundered-because-it-didnt-understand-power/


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  1. I have to disagree when over 80% of the leaders good intentions or not eventually end up selling out for fat pensions and future employment opportunities. People sell out, and this is why even if you vote in 50% good people they will be crushed by those whom are lobbied or bribed into switching sides. We are fucked so long as we do not have control over our money. In order to restore control, one has to kick them to the curb, because they will not give it up otherwise and will sabotage any movements to do so.

    • James on August 28, 2012 at 23:38
    • Reply

    Actually, the reason Occupy floundered was because of arrogance and a complete lack of historical understanding. The new generation that is going to solve all the worlds problems with love? Been done, 40 yrs ago. We have seen how most of those people evolved. Don’t remember? Look at the 80s or look up the term “Yuppie”. And then they proved how their system was so much better than the current system by completely duplicating the current system complete with committees (cabinet/ministries, including finance) media relations, military (blac bloc), police (peacekeepers).

    Hubris and ignorance steamrolled the few that may have been decent. It always does.

      • Standing Water on August 29, 2012 at 00:57
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      Those who would be fit to lead rarely want to lead, because anyone who understands power in the way Greg talks about above is very self-conscious about using it. It’s a sort of catch 22.

      As for Occupy, it was never “leaderless”, that was just the schtick. From the online planning to the first meetings, it was scripted by various parties who knew eachother from beforehand or who had all had the same bad koolaid at some point.

      In Vancouver, at any rate, almost all of Occupy was hamstrung by the “activist community” (poverty pimps and associated detritus from the DTES) trying to install their fear-based control mechanisms like “conduct codes” and “safe space policies.” Those are really nothing more than hypnotic devices, and anyone who objects to them, well, that’s the point—then they know who to ostracize, because they know who’s not a simpleton who goes along to get along to the point of giving up liberty.

      However, I have great faith that the Phoenix Network, Vancouver Chapter, will do great things.

    • Foxtrot on August 30, 2012 at 19:28
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    You might get a kick out of this. https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/556485_105054029646526_809881299_n.jpg


    • James Gugel on September 3, 2012 at 13:49
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    Greg on behalf of Karen she wanted you ro know youre amazing. And she feels bad she had no clue Alex messed you up like that. Theres tons of parallels in her past w this experience and I hope she realizes Toronto wasnt the place she lived in. Peace out!

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