October 11, 2011

Who Is Behind The Occupy Movement?

Last night I had dinner with Jeanette T. She was up-to-date on Occupy Bradenton. She knew when and where they had demonstrated. But, when it came to the question of who organized it, she had been led astray. According to her, the news had reported that the unions had organized the protest. Certainly, starting last week, organized labor has visibly endorsed the movement, marching in New York City, and swelling the ranks of the participants. But that is a far cry from spearheading the movement.

From what I've seen, the Occupation is more about participation than organization. Labor unions are heirarchical. Folks who showed up for the Occupy Bradenton event on Sunday weren't even sure whether the person who had announced the event on Facebook was in attendance. Union members elect their leaders and rely on them for representation. Most of the Occupy groups are using direct democracy and a consensus model for decision making.

Some media outlets are at a loss to explain WHO organized the Occupation. But in many ways the groundswell of a response is far more interesting. I find it especially appealing that people are speaking to one another. And that people are listening to one another.

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