Author Topic: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement  (Read 6836 times)

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Offline Jaraparilla

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The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« on: November 07, 2011, 12:13:53 PM »
By FuturePress.

A proposal on how to perpetuate the creative and cooperative spirit of the occupations and transform them into lasting forms of social organization.

This is a proposal made by a group of concerned global citizens who also act as volunteers for Take the Square, United for Global Change, 15october.net, European Revolution, WL Central and Reflections on a Revolution (ROAR). We do not pretend to represent or speak on behalf of anyone but ourselves.

The Global Square: Towards an Online Platform for the Occupy Movement

In its most recent tactical briefing for the Occupy movement, Adbusters correctly pointed out that, “of the many questions swirling around #OCCUPY, the most challenging is how to gel into a global movement without sacrificing the decentralized, leaderless model.” In the wake of the global day of action on October 15, the question now arises how our movement can evolve new organizational structures that will allow the assemblies — and their highly innovative participatory model of decision-making — to survive beyond the occupations and become a permanent fixture of our emerging global society.

How, in other words, can we perpetuate the creative and cooperative spirit of the occupations and transform them into lasting forms of social organization — at the global as well as the local level?

Currently, the organization of the occupations and the collaboration between them rests in part upon the innovative use of social media. However, as a group of volunteers who were directly involved in the coordination of the worldwide protests of October 15, we have found the existing social media to be increasingly restrictive in their functionality. While Facebook and Twitter have been very helpful for disseminating basic information and aiding mass mobilization, they do not provide us with the tools for extending our participatory model of decision-making beyond the direct reach of the assemblies and up to the global level.

What we need, at this point, is a platform that allows us to radically democratize our global organizational efforts. In addition to the local squares, we now need a global square where people of all nations can come together as equals to participate in the coordination of collective actions and the formulation of common goals and aspirations. For this reason, we call upon the revolutionary wizkids of the world to unite and assist in the development of a new online platform – The Global Square – that combines the communicative functions of the existing social networks with the political functions of the assemblies to provide crucial new tools for the development of our global movement.

The aim of the platform, in this respect, should not be to replace the physical assemblies but rather to empower them by providing the online tools for (trans)national organization and collaboration. The ideal would be both to foster individual participation and to structure collective action. The Global Square could be our own virtual Zuccotti Park, serving as a public space where different groups can come together to organize their local assemblies — and where different assemblies can join hands to coordinate their collective projects. In a way, The Global Square could be a groundbreaking experiment in building a global participatory decision-making system from the grassroots up.

To be more precise, the specific tools provided by this online platform could include the following (note that this list is far from exhaustive and will grow organically to include many other functionalities):

    An interactive map that lists all ongoing assemblies around the world;
    A search option allowing users to find squares, events, working-groups, etc.;
    An aggregated news feed that lists the most relevant ‘status updates’ shared by the various assemblies (à la Facebook);
    Individual ‘pages’ for each local square/assembly where participants can organize collectively, including the following functionalities:
    – A calendar with upcoming events/actions;
    – A forum for public debate, with the ability to open different threads;
    – A list of all relevant documents/minutes uploaded by the assembly;
    – The ability to create and edit new documents collaboratively;
    – The ability to vote on specific decisions;
    – The ability to submit new proposals.
    A public and private messaging system that allows all individual users and assemblies to communicate and exchange information, reinforcing solidarity and mutual collaboration;
    The ability to ‘scale-up’ local decisions, actions, and initiatives to the global level through a ‘sharing’ system that allows local assemblies to pose ideas, votes, and proposals to other assemblies in a horizontal, non-hierarchical fashion (i.e., straight from the local to the global level).

Furthermore, The Global Square should be 100% multilingual and open-source, so a community of developers can continue to add languages as well as functions.

Facebook and the other social networks have until now only offered the possibility to share and promote content. The Global Square, by contrast, should encourage the active participation of citizens, the consolidation of online working groups, the collaborative scheduling of events, the establishment of consensus, the process of participatory budgeting, and the exchange of needs, proposals and ideas – in a local and a global context – between individuals and assemblies. Furthermore, to promote the widespread uptake of the platform, the creation of a minimalist, user-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing design is of the utmost importance.

We are aware of the existence of social platforms like n-1.cc, used by the Spanish movement, yet we feel that these have a number of shortcomings. They are not very user-friendly and not universally accessible for citizens from different national backgrounds. Also, resulting from a lack of funds and time, these platforms have not been able to develop the level of complexity required to provide all the functionalities listed above. We realize that the project we are proposing is a very ambitious one. But we hope that our movement can seize this opportunity to prove once and for all that creativity, innovation and dynamism can flourish in a collaborative, non-profit framework — and that it is possible to ensure a form of participatory democracy beyond the nation state.

We believe The Global Square could make a significant contribution to the consolidation of the assemblies and the development of our global movement. It is important to note, however, that the project will require significant funding, as well as a team of full-time professional developers. As we know that Occupy Wall Street plays an exemplary role within the movement, we are turning specifically to you for help in further refining this idea and initiating the search for funds and developers for a beta-version of the platform. We would be very interested to hear your ideas, suggestions and criticisms of this proposal. We can be reached at [email protected]

Finally, we have registered a domain (theglobalsquare.org — not active yet) that we would happily share with the movement (other suggestions are, of course, very welcome too). We are looking forward to a public conversation with all of you on how to make this idea work in a way that involves and benefits all. From the local village square to the global village square — it is time for us to unite!

In solidarity,

The volunteers at:

Take the Square
WLCentral.org
United for Global Change
15october.net
European Revolution
Reflections on a Revolution

© Licenced under Creative Commons. Attribution and linkback required. Original WL Central story here.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 06:24:47 AM by Jaraparilla »

Offline Schlafendwolf

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2011, 18:33:21 PM »
An interesting idea.

Being involved in the Occupy movement myself, I have experienced first hand the liberating experience of being involved in a truly democratic decision making process.

It is hard to comprehend unless it is experienced first hand the wonderful concept of no leaders. Everyone in  the assembly has as much of a voice as anyone else, and is equally empowered to express their opinions to the assembly as either a proposal, or just an expression of feelings.

The concept of everyone having an equal voice is a superb demonstration of real democracy, and it works well in a group scenario, but how do you translate that to a much larger community, or even an international community?

The Global Square is certainly a step in the right direction, but I fear that the administration of such a complex system would be frighteningly technical and expensive. I also believe that the larger the community, the more difficult it would be to prevent abuses against the 'leaderless' principle.

But on the other hand I think that the whole conception of the Occupy movement is based upon the general agreement that a new, different political direction is required given the limits of the current democratic process. I believe that the inclusion of modern fast IT processes is essential if any review of a new democratic process is to survive any scrutiny. Indeed the work of organisations like Wikileaks is absolutely at the forefront of what could be classified as the fourth estate, or journalistic safeguards against political tyranny.

Beyond the Occupy movement is the evolution of a new exciting development that mass communication is making possible. The concept of a global political union. Of course, this is all ideology at the moment and is a long way from becoming a reality. But the possibilies are certainly there.

There are huge intrinsic problems with the concept though. How would minority groups hope to have a significant voice in a global community? Democracy does not sit comfortably if you are part of a small religious or ethnic group. It is also fundamental that all social groups have equal access to the democratic process. Today there is a massive part of the world population that does not have access to the internet, and hence would be unable to participate in the political process. I also believe that the concept of 'local' squares, is in a way, making the same mistakes as our ancestors, and would eventually lead to a form of cyber nationalism. The platform should be without boundaries, a true global community.

Then of course, there is resistance from the the administrators of the current political structure, which lets face it, is the source of WL current financial problems. Resistance from the governments and global corporations that rely on the status quo. But then maybe we should really trust the realisation that there is only one true superpower in the world - the people. And if there is enough desire and commitment to this concept as a new politcal model .... it will happen.
Lack of fear is the road to truth,
Truth is the basis of information,
Information is the key to power.

Do not be afraid.

Offline Jaraparilla

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2011, 21:11:00 PM »
Apparently this Global Square text was posted elsewhere on WL Forums. Sorry for the duplication! I will leave it up to moderators to delete or keep it.

Personally when I heard about Global Square I started thinking of Open Source Linux. Just look what we can achieve by working together and sharing freely! Many of the tools needed to build a Global Square are already available, if we can just bring them together...

Offline Schlafendwolf

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2011, 22:18:03 PM »
Apparently this Global Square text was posted elsewhere on WL Forums. Sorry for the duplication! I will leave it up to moderators to delete or keep it.


I did see this on another WL platform somewhere as well, but I don't recall seeing it elsewhere on the WL Forum. I hope it is left here because it is an interesting and very relevant issue.
Lack of fear is the road to truth,
Truth is the basis of information,
Information is the key to power.

Do not be afraid.

Voda

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 09:04:17 AM »
ergh, @schlafendwolf, Global Square text is posted here
http://www.wikileaks-forum.com/index.php/topic,5839.0.html

it is really important and will not be removed as double post. also shows that our opinion and way of thinking is the same ;-)

global Square text is important because it is upgrade of occupy movement

julia

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2011, 03:30:39 AM »
Earlier today I came upon the realization that never before people revolved  at the same time demonstrating for the same ideals at a global level. This is something that I could have never imagined. It is extraordinary. The Global Square would be important to strengthen the movement and ensure its existence in the future. The potential of such thing is enormous.

I have also taken part at the GA of my local occupy and I also experienced an extremely empowering feeling. The feeling of real democracy, of being included in the decision making process. Also, listening to others and understanding their points .

I was born into a democracy but I realize now that I have never lived in a real democratic country. None of us has. This should be the beginning of a new era.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2011, 05:03:46 AM by juju »

Offline Barbara

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2011, 03:35:03 AM »
Ooops, is this supposed to be a secret? cause I just sent the link to almost everyone in my address book.


I have two ideas:

1) try to get a handle on the backlash taking place in the mainstream media by creating a 'dumping ground' of sorts for all the bullshit youtube videos, rumors, facebook discussion, and other crap we come across. (If this already exists someone please email me.)

2) as I said before, I sent the Global Square link to almost everyone I can think of, and I posted it on facebook. I'm going to try to cobble together some sort of winter camping trip to help relieve some of the occupiers who might like to go home for a break

Oh, I have a third!

3) I can get people at UMBC to cook something - a pie or a turkey or something to take to the occupiers in D.C. and Baltimore. As a matter of fact, this could be repeated across campuses, fellowship halls, senior centers, high schools, and workplaces throughout the land, inundating the occupiers in the warm glow of appreciation and food.

We can issue a press release, stating that we have declared the Thanksgiving Feast Holiday to be the entire month of November, as we give thanks for the tremendous physical and mental sacrifices the occupiers have so freely made. And we give thanks for their perseverance in the face of both mindless vitriol and targeted attacks. <3

Offline Barbara

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2011, 02:28:13 AM »
Okay guys and gals. I've got a big Rubbermaid tote full of stuff that still has a lot of quality use value. There are some coats and jackets, gloves, hats, scarves. Some tennis rackets, tennis balls, a frisbee, candles, flashlights, some board games, and a stack of some of my favorite books.

I was thinking of taking it to either #occupyDC or #occupyBaltimore. Is there a distribution network to get these things where they're needed?

 :)<I guess I should call it a "redistribution network"> ;)

Can the occupiers legally have candles? Do the have access to electricity? Where is the stuff I have most needed?

Thanks mucho

<Oh, fuck. That's what we should call our thanksgiving holiday!>
« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 02:35:34 AM by Barbara »

Offline Schlafendwolf

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2011, 11:37:30 AM »
I was thinking of taking it to either #occupyDC or #occupyBaltimore. Is there a distribution network to get these things where they're needed?

 :)<I guess I should call it a "redistribution network"> ;)

Can the occupiers legally have candles? Do the have access to electricity? Where is the stuff I have most needed?

Thanks mucho


Hi Barbara

I don't know how things are operating at individual Occupy sites around the world, but I can comment on the situation in London UK.

Generally, there is no shortage of food. There is 10 times the amount of 'occupiers' who strongly agree with the Occupy movement, but for one reason or another, cannot physically stay at the Occupy site (young families, work commitments, disabilities etc). These people have very much taken it upon themselves, whilst not being able to physically demonstrate, to support the demonstrators on the ground in any way possible. They will deliver enormous amounts of food / drink, and even order stuff from nearby fast food shops to be delivered to the Occupy site.

There have also been huge deposits of blankets, tents, marquees, cooking equipment, media equipment, warm clothing, books, videos etc etc.

In London, I think the thing needed more than anything else, is the sheer quantity of people. There is enormous support in the UK for the movement (as there is everywhere), but this has only translated into on-the-ground protesters in the hundreds. The media has pretty much reported the London Occupy Movement as a very minority issue.

The problem is that it is one thing to ask conscientious people to attend a rally, or protest march. It is entirely another thing to ask protesters to camp in tents in winter over periods of weeks or months. A lot of ardent supporters I know personally are unwilling to do this, many more are simply unable. That sort of commitment may even sacrifice your career or relationships. And whilst many believe that the concept and reasons for doing so may be worth it. A lot of people are also very cynical that this movement will not eventually just fizzle out, which to be quite honest, wouldn't be unprecedented. A commitment that may have jeopardized your job or your relationship, could then be seen as a very expensive venture.

I strongly believe that this is the reason why the proposed 'Global Square' is so very important to the movement. Many people who are presently unable to actively involve themselves in what is happening at the Occupy sites globally, would be able to become fully involved 'in the comfort of their own homes'. And believe me, from the people I have spoken to, it would increase the active membership of the movement exponentially.
Lack of fear is the road to truth,
Truth is the basis of information,
Information is the key to power.

Do not be afraid.

greekemmy

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2011, 13:16:49 PM »
You seem to have got a deep understanding of the issue, you have given me a lot to think about, thank you.

The occupy movement is not going away and it is one part of the movement of people who realise that change must come, as all we have built as a civil society are threatened and taken down in front of our eyes, by the cataclysmic effects of an unravelling capitalism as we have known it.


Offline Barbara

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2011, 04:01:11 AM »
Thank you so much, Schlafendwolf. From what I understand, there was a call in US for people who are going to be traveling to help out by transporting people between occupation sites, but I imagine the same thing could work for transporting supplies, too.

This gives me a couple more ideas:

1) There is no reason that the occupiers have to stay put at the same location is there?

Because in the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a very large "intentionally homeless" population - called the Rainbow Nation - that moved around the country camping in the state forests and on other public lands. These Rainbow gatherings were sometimes hundreds of thousands people living in one vast encampment out in the wild, so to speak. And park police are generally much nicer to deal with than city cops, although not always.

The Gatherings had their own provisions for physical infrastructure, decision-making structures, etc. that were diametrically opposed to the prevailing norms. Anyway, the fact that people are camping means they are highly mobile (like capital), and because the decision-making, physical support, etc. was not rooted in either public or private goods and services, the occupiers could migrate to warmer climates in the winter.

My suggestion is that the occupations in the colder cities simply relocate to.....oh, say, the Cayman Islands for example. Or Syria, or Bahrain. Which leads me to my next suggestion.

All of the occupiers that have the means to relocate should converge on Ft. Leavenworth for Thanksgiving. Can you imagine a sizable fraction of the total number of people who are occupying - or who support the occupation - to show up all in one place to give thanks to Bradley Manning outside his prison cell? That would be incredible! Does anyone know how cold Ft. Leavenworth is in November?

Also, I'm serious about people leaving the cold Northern cities and summering in the Cayman Islands.

2) My second idea was for occupiers in December to put on outdoor stage productions of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Only the occupy version will be updated from the Victorian to reflect current living conditions of the poor/ disparities in wealth / pitfalls of avarice, etc. (We did our own version called A Mother's Day Carol in Tennessee some years back to protest Welfare Reform policies, and it was a hit.) Instead of charging admission, the occupiers could send out wish lists, and supporters could bring whatever is needed to the encampment for the show.

Offline Barbara

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2011, 00:58:07 AM »
I'm reposting this event announcement and invitation from Occupy Baltimore's website:

Hello All!

It was great talking to everybody this weekend as I trekked from New York, to Phili, to DC, and then back to Baltimore in an attempt to make contact with members of the East Coast Occupy Movements. As I mentioned during our chats, I am an Executive Director of the Johns Hopkins Foreign Affairs Symposium, and next spring, our organization would like to hold an open event entitled “Meet the Movement: A Gathering of Occupy Representatives in one of America’s most Unequal Cities”. This event would take place in Baltimore and most likely be scheduled during mid-March of next year. The goal of the event is to provide a forum for occupiers to talk to the Hopkins Community, the surrounding Baltimore community, and the greater American citizenry about various components of the Occupy Movement. Currently, our organization is in the process of re-allocating funds to transport occupiers from Oakland, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia, DC, Toronto, and Vancouver to Baltimore. However, we still lack any contact information for occupiers in most of these cities. If anyone can help us get that information we would really appreciate it. Otherwise, we are currently looking to establish continual communication with occupy movements across the country as we begin to fashion a method for figuring out which people will represent each city’s movement next spring.

Of course, many people must be asking: Why Baltimore? While the symbolic center of the OWS has organically coalesced around Zuccotti Park in New York and the protestors in Oakland, we believe that holding this event in Baltimore presents a great opportunity to show people throughout the country that Occupy is present everywhere. Additionally, Baltimore is a perfect example of the tragedies that can develop when our government fails to address pressing international and domestic issues. Today, this city is riddled with crime, unemployment, and a shrinking population. Yet its residents have refused to give up, and I have no doubt that, with positive political activism, the citizens of Baltimore can once again create a vibrant center of cultural integrity and economic prosperity on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

Finally, I would like to add that, while we are still in the preliminary planning process, our symposium wants to see just how big this event can get! Most of you started occupying public space with just a handful of people only a few months ago. Since then, we have all witnessed Occupy’s tremendous growth into a truly modern and worldwide movement. Here at Hopkins, we are once again starting with just a few people. However, we believe that with the same passionate energy, new funding from the Foreign Affairs Symposium, support from various campus groups, and careful planning in tandem with Occupy Baltimore/Occupy DC, this event can become one that will showcase the movement to the entire American citizenry- and maybe even the world. So, I hope everybody is excited because I know we are! At this point, the best thing we can do to start moving forward is just establishing contact between the Foreign Affairs Symposium and media reps from various cities. So, if you get this email, whether it’s forwarded or sent directly to you, feel free to reply with contact info, questions, comments, ect.

Hope to hear back soon,

Andrew

http://occupybmore.org/event/planning-meeting-meet-movement-gathering-occupy-representatives-one-america’s-most-unequal

Offline C. Tussey

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 23:36:50 PM »
Okay guys and gals. I've got a big Rubbermaid tote full of stuff that still has a lot of quality use value. There are some coats and jackets, gloves, hats, scarves. Some tennis rackets, tennis balls, a frisbee, candles, flashlights, some board games, and a stack of some of my favorite books.

I was thinking of taking it to either #occupyDC or #occupyBaltimore. Is there a distribution network to get these things where they're needed?

 :)<I guess I should call it a "redistribution network"> ;)

Can the occupiers legally have candles? Do the have access to electricity? Where is the stuff I have most needed?

Thanks mucho

<Oh, grmmmph!. That's what we should call our thanksgiving holiday!>

Though i dont know if there is any but it is a good idea for sure..

Offline C. Tussey

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Re: The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2013, 14:18:08 PM »
Okay guys and gals. I've got a big Rubbermaid tote full of stuff that still has a lot of quality use value. There are some coats and jackets, gloves, hats, scarves. Some tennis rackets, tennis balls, a frisbee, candles, flashlights, some board games, and a stack of some of my favorite books.

I was thinking of taking it to either #occupyDC or #occupyBaltimore. Is there a distribution network to get these things where they're needed?


 :)<I guess I should call it a "redistribution network"> ;)

Can the occupiers legally have candles? Do the have access to electricity? Where is the stuff I have most needed?

Thanks mucho


<Oh, grmmmph!. That's what we should call our thanksgiving holiday!>

Yes i believe occupiers can legally have candles .