Occupy Movements beware: there are two camps in your midst, one of which will guarantee your descent into historical meaninglessness.
Please just follow my thought-form here, and at the end, reply or comment telling me if it makes sense to you or not.
If the Wall Street perspective and values structure is “conventional” then the Occupy movement is “non-conventional”. So – depending on your perspective, conventional is bad, non-conventional is good, or vice versa.
Except that conventional vs. non-conventional is a dangerous false dichotomy!
What’s actually happening is three different worldviews: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional. Immediately below is an example of a post-conventional perspective. (I’ll show you pre-conventional and the dangers inherent, below that.)
Remember the Battle of Seattle during the WTO in 1999?
“The WTO is a treaty organization that enables corporations to sue local governments if their health, environmental, or worker-safety laws conflict with the corporations’ profits. (Here’s an article about a prominent case only 4 years after the WTO was established. In this case, a Canadian corporation that produced a gasoline additive determined by the state of California to cause cancer, sued California for almost $1 billion, saying California’s health law banning the known carcinogen interfered with the corporation’s profits. There are dozen’s of other examples.) The pattern is that anytime the WTO has ruled — corporations vs. sea turtles, corporations vs. small farmers, corporations vs. food security — the WTO has ruled in favor of corporations.”
The above paragraph is an example of a post-conventional argument against the WTO.
Here’s how the pre-conventional approach sounds:
Down with the system!
Down with the man!
Do you notice the HUGE difference between pre-conventional and post-conventional?
What happened in Seattle in 1999– and is happening in NYC and elsewhere — is that pre-conventional and post-conventional are lumped together as non-conventional — but they couldn’t be farther apart!
Notice how a post-conventional approach is trickier to distill into sound-bites.
And pre-conventional outbursts make for higher ratings for the mainstream media while simultaneously confusing mainstream viewers.
(Part of the issue with what I’m calling the pre-conventional approach — besides the fact that it reminds me of a four-year-old temper tantrum — is that it is mostly ineffective. And it is prone to demonizing and dehumanizing others which, besides obvious issues, also alienates potential allies.)
Occupy Wall Street’s challenge is to plant its feet solidly in a post-conventional perspective.
Yes it has to have passion and guts — but it must strive to do more than deconstruct.
If the post-conventional Wall Street occupiers get lumped in with the “you-can’t-tell-me-what-to-do” crowd, they will lose credibility and traction faster than you can say fat cat bonus.
Pre and post are SO different — and it is important that long-term, positive change agents recognize the difference, and root themselves in the latter.
(Naomi Klein and Tom Atlee are examples of post-conventional authors [and there are scores of others]. One of my favorites is George Lakoff who recently wrote a really cool article on framing for OWS.)