Douglas Rushkoff has a useful article on the Occupy movement. I am actually loath indulge in much analysis over what is happening in New York and now elsewhere, because the events defy analysis, especially from a traditional lens. But in this article, Rushkoff points to some of the things that are happening and why they matter for organizing large social conversations on the pressing issues of our day.
To be fair, the reason why some mainstream news journalists and many of the audiences they serve see the Occupy Wall Street protests as incoherent is because the press and the public are themselves. It is difficult to comprehend a 21st century movement from the perspective of the 20th century politics, media, and economics in which we are still steeped.
Let’s be clear. Many traditionalists and establishment people are pointing to the form of these protests and dismissing them. It’s as if the protestors have a responsibility to come up with a list of demands in order to be taken seriously. Or it’s as if they are not to be believed until they create a reductionist analysis of the problems.
After Copenhagen I had a clear idea that mainstream ways of organizing the conversation on the biggest issues of our time were outdated. The conference model is a waste of time, money and talent. Diplomacy is too constrained by 19th century notions of statehood to be useful. What needs to happen is a sea change, a worldwide open space in which voices and questions can float freely, and actions can arise that address things in completely novel and emergent ways. If the form of this movement is mind boggling, don’t ask the protesters to change for you. You will never understand it unless you change your way of thinking about how we create solution.