Occupy 2.0 - Base Building - Potlucks and Relationships

Most participants recognize that the Occcupy Movement needs to evolve. The question is how?

A Tactic is NOT a Strategy
We should be flexible with our tactics, while we continue to work for the same set of goals (economic equality, democracy, and justice for all).

The Occupy Movement spread around the world based on the occupation tactic, however I believe that most of the local occupations reached their peak strength around a month ago. The occupations are facing cold weather (at least in the Northern hemisphere - there are a couple occupations in Australia and New Zealand), burn out, structural/site decay (mostly due to burn out), and increased hostility from the media and local politicians. Cities have been banning tents, clearing parks, imposing curfews, and arresting protesters by the thousands.

The solution is to change our tactics.

Relationships = Power
My suggestion is to not only change our tactics but also the way in which we organize. We need to focus on building relationships.

We need to center our organizing on relationships between people. People are the source of our power and people are only as strong as the relationships between them. If you had ten people who supported your goals, but who didn't know each other and didn't talk to each other - how does that help build a movement? By contrast if you have those ten people tell each other their stories, build a common set of values (and learn where to ignore differences for the greater good), participate in actions together, and participate in developing themselves as leaders - then you have a Movement!

Potlucks = Relationships
My tactical suggestion is to have a weekly potluck in a church or other large facility. The goal of this potluck is to bring a diverse group of people together and build relationships while eating good food.

The location of the potluck should rotate to reach out to people in the neighborhoods in which they live, and also to breach the racial and class divide within the Occupy Movement and within our cities.

The potluck should feature a short keynote speaker to focus the discussion on important issues, and a facilitation team to facilitate the discussions.

The most important factor of the potluck is to have small group discussions. To ensure that people go beyond their existing relationships and meet new people, there should be a process for randomly assigning people seating. For instance, you could have people draw a number from a hat/box and sit at that table. You might want to allow two people to stick together (as this will help introverts) and choose a number for the two of them.

The goal of the small group discussions is for people to get to know each other and share stories that relate to economic inequality and empowerment.

Admittedly, this is a brainstorm. I haven't tried it. But it is based on the relationship method of organizing that you can read about it books like: "Roots for Radicals" and "Going Public: An Organizer's Guide to Citizen Action".

Once you have a stronger base, you are ready to launch some campaigns with goals in Occupy 3.0 =)