All over the news today has been the eviction of the wall street occupiers and reference to evictions in other areas too. Indeed some have even suggested that the evictions have been coordinated between city authorities.
There has, of course, been a fight-back by the protestors to be allowed to stay via the courts. This action appears to have been unsuccessful. No doubt the battles will go on for some time, but perhaps we ought to be asking whether they should?
The actions of the occupy movement have done a fantastic job of raising public awareness and changing the narrative of the debate. It has also been a monumental logistical achievement. It is most certainly also important that the right to peaceful protest be protected.
But as a post on occupywallst.org itself points out:
Some politicians may physically remove us from public spaces — our spaces — and, physically, they may succeed. But we are engaged in a battle over ideas. Our idea is that our political structures should serve us, the people — all of us…
Herein for me lies the root of my question. If this is truly a battle of ideas then why does it need an occupation? Ideas don’t take up any physical space. People can do of course, when they want to discuss their ideas together. But in fact a virtual space will serve just as well for this and is in fact far less exclusive in practice.
There is also another consideration here, which is the benefits and costs of different models of organisation.
On the one hand we have an occupy style model, which is intentionally non hierarchical and based on consensus decision making. The advantage of this model is that it’s much more democratic in itself. The disadvantage is that, with the best will in the world, it’s not all that efficient at actually getting anything done.
By contrast you have what might be called the representative model, which is pretty much the opposite – not so democratic because decisions are made top down, but much better at taking action efficiently (in theory at least!).
But why must we necessarily chose the one or the other? We already have elected representatives, we just need to drive them to work for us – and we need to do this in a way that is inclusive and consensus based.
Basically we the people set out the agenda by consensus and discussion, then we drive our elected representatives to actually get on and enact it efficiently. Easy!
Now it seems to me, as described above, that most of that consensus building work can be most efficiently, fairly and inclusively done online.
How then, do we drive our elected representatives to work for our agenda? With our votes of course. Nothing – and I mean nothing – motivates politicians more than votes. That’s why the Simpol voting system will work so well.
Working together we can decide and implement a better future for everyone!