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EWG meeting on Friday 25th April 2014 – Interest on Money Presentation


EWG meeting on Friday 25th April 2014 – minutes and Interest on Money Presentation.

Attached are the minutes from yesterday’s EWG meeting which was characterised by positivity and goodwill, thanks to Tim’s excellent facilitation and wider positive commitment.

Action points:

Friday meetings will now start at 5:30pm (to 7:30pm) for the next four weeks and then reviewed. Monday meetings remain at 5pm.
Planned all-day EWG meeting (28th June TBC) to resolve different views on Interest on Money – needs facilitators for the sessions. If you want to run a session on the day, please provide a brief synopsis below. It would be great to have conflicting views presented. To volunteer to present or facilitate, please go to the pirate pad http://piratepad.net/sR5zsyDPSn. Steve, I’ve taken the liberty of adding your planned session to the pad – please add/amend to suit.

Attached are the slides from the Revolution or Evolution presentation, a couple of years ago, at a Finsbury Square EWG meeting.

EWG Meeting on Friday 25th April 2014 – minutes
Tim, Schlacke, Phillip. Steve M, Janos, John, Bharat, Steve B, Mary, Clive

1. Benetton, Oxford Circus lock-out for the day (24th April) and GAP protest – very effective. Rana Plaza collapse – manufacturing for multiple outlets. Compensation fund unsupported by many companies. Bangladeshi factories still not meeting ILO standards or even Bangladesh standards. Equality Trust – Spirit Level discussions referred to Martin Wolf in the FT: Banks create Money from Nothing. Authorities (some) may be grateful for Occupy helping to put contentious issues on the map? Operation to target/undermine Occupy and others’ efforts to protest inequality. Distraction and diversion. Piketty study: rate of growth – inequality.

2. Facilitation workshops – dynamic facilitation – supporting and engaging each speaker. Recording data on sheets so the thread of discussion is maintained. Energy and commitment to the SWOT process. Dense minutes – may require amplification by individuals. Janos has extracted and distributed 108 items from the last two meetings including SWOT analysis (Appendix 2). Minutes a “coffin” – of interest to later historians? Have discussions changed people’s minds? Chatham House rules/Chairman’s rules. Everything can be recorded (unless specifically requested otherwise), ie. Nothing is suppressed but no statements are attributed. Have evolved our own style of minutes which most appreciate. People’s thinking has evolved through involvement in EWG and other groups within and outside Occupy. Experience and training in dealing with different dynamics/personalities. See Facebook-Debate doc. (Appendix 1). We have an impact – eg. Haldane (“Occupy is right”) – “left of the lefts”. No need to justify ourselves. The system cannot justify itself
– and it will crumble under scrutiny. EWG and Occupy is exposing the flaws in the systemic structure which are, to some extent, self revealing. Thinking has been expanded. No ifs, no buts. Of historical significance – analogous to groups in pre-revolutionary France. We aren’t waiting for history – insanity in the Ukraine – global context. What we share with others has an effect. EWG is both satisfying and frustrating. We all change by talking with each other. Are we going to agree on the three principles: Land, money and labour? Foundation to agree and build thereon. We can’t force an agreement. Gestalt view – fundamental shift – aha moment – raising awareness. EWG arguments getting into the outside world. Difficult to trace the mechanism but by osmosis and name
awareness. Non-typical “activists” are participating in language of Occupy – there is an energy to Occupy. Difficult to identify how much is down to EWG specifically. Internal workings. Haldane saying Occupy was right – filtered out into the world. Facebook post on how to reach agreement (Appendix 1). Diversity of exposure to different people/ideas. Keeping economic features, principles, concerns in the public eye. Empathetic facilitation – not looking to pull apart what people say. Systems work in a positive way. Connect to the positive. Darwinism – evolutionary biology – the benefits and success of co-operation – see http://freecriticalthinking.org/daily- pickings/905-the-empathic-civilisation. Unless we create action – nothing will change.

3. Timing of meeting 5:30pm? – proposal to change Friday meeting only to 5:30pm agreed for the next four weeks. Mondays will continue at 5pm. Skype participation under consideration. Other type of meeting to reach agreement by 360º exploration with notes of data/information posted on the walls. Day long meeting – at the Common House, Bethnal Green? To reach consensus with like minded approach looking for common ground. Interest on Money as the first topic. Saturday meeting in June to agree principles? Janos will book Mayday rooms opposite Goldman Sachs for an EWG meeting on Interest. Needs facilitating. Section facilitation – piratepad for volunteers (http://piratepad.net/sR5zsyDPSn) – space for input. Presentation on Money¸Debt and Interest
(Clive will circulate presentation made at the EWG in Finsbury Square 2 years ago). 28Th June
2014. Steve B on language/semantics of usury/interest. Usury presentations – no need for external “expert” input. Bernard Lietaer (Money and Sustainability) endorsed Occupy – “people come to Occupy for original thinking.” Meeting (28th June provisionally) to be promoted on Occupy EWG list and listed as an EWG meeting on the Occupy London website. Interest is a fundamental issue –
need diversity of views to resolve differences. Usury has taken on similar connotations to the word “gay”. Bromsgrove group. Usury should be the word used but may be difficult/inflammatory. Rodney Shakespeare? Semantics of interest/usury. GA’s – not easy to get agreement – likely to be time consuming. Open to people who’ve been involved in EWG? Process: Occupy is against the current status quo. Occupy GA not as frequent/effective as when at St Paul’s – need to replicate the creativity and spirit at 28th June EWG meeting – outcome: a statement to go to Occupy (GA)? EWG is specialising on the financial system and formulating a new type of financial paradigm. Deep discussion required, over more time and different process to the normal EWG meetings. Recapture the dynamic at St Paul’s. Shift the framework of the economic debate. Wall notes connecting to previous comments – framework of continuity. Underestimating ourselves? We’re not handicapped. Every person has the self-authorisation to make a statement to the world. We’re not shifting the debate – we can create a new debate. Use of the word Occupy? EWG list announcement – notification of the meeting on the website. Separating wheat from chaff – threshing meeting (North American Quaker term)

Appendix 1
An alternative to debate.

By Michael Michalchik on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 09:20 from
https://www.facebook.com/notes/occupy- economics/an-alternative-to-debate/398215013528696

People have been trained by this society to fall into and adversarial role to explore issues they don’t agree on. The adversarial system is suitable for cases where the outcome is zero sum such as the court room. Unfortunately it stifles creativity, openness and amity which is something I hope for in this group.

Let me suggest an alternative which is is possible when the goal is to create the best ideas rather than to dominate an intellectual forum. I have no name for this but I have seen it work very well. We might call it collaborative corrective brainstorming but if someone knows a better name for it. I am all ears.

If someone says something that seems wrong to you.
1) Assume goodwill and intelligence on their part.
2) Reread what they said in light of this assumption.
3) Make sure that you are are not projecting some meaning on what the other person has said, just because it resembles a bad argument someone else has made. (sometimes original ideas look a lot like tired old bad ones until you look at the details)
4) If it still seems wrong, assume the person may have misstated it or not thought things through the way you have. Try to figure out what they were trying to get across. How might they have said something similar but much more sensible.
5) (MOST IMPORTANT STEP) Don’t knock down the idea by punching holes in its weaknesses, do you best to make the idea work by fixing those weaknesses in phrasing, logic or completeness.
6) Try to figure out what problems or issues the person was trying to address by suggesting the faulty idea and use that to guide your recreation of a more correct version of the idea.
7) add you own creative input into the idea but only after you think you have addressed the persons concerns.
8) Like all new skills this will take practice. We have all had practice at adversarial styles of communication. This will take as much practice to get right. If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
I would welcome people applying these principles to what I just wrote. Addendum:
1) Acknowledge to yourself that you might be wrong and imagine what that would be like.
Under what circumstance would you change your ideas, how would you deal with that emotionally and what would be the good and bad implications of that change.
2) As a rule of thumb, if you can not name at least three problems with an idea you like or three good points to an idea being advocated by other people, you probably have not thought through the possibilities carefully. Every idea has problems and every idea that has convinced at least a few people has merits.
3) In prolonged disputes look for common ground. There must be things that you agree on.
Do you have the same goals but disagree about how to get there? Do you have similar values but just rank them in different order of priority? A lot of the time I have found that what seemed to be a fundamental difference of values was really a difference in terminology or approach to problem solving.

-What is;
-What could be;
-and how to get from here to there
These form the framework for analysis and understanding.
Then comes strategy and tactics.
About telling the public “what is and what could be”, I think history shows that even that is not enough.
People can know that but still be unwilling to get out of their comfort zone into **effective**
nonviolent activism.
PS. I am not satisfied that this thread is about “discussion [rather than posting]“.
Make one single statement (not a mini dissertation—as I do here) as a focus until no relevant comments remain.
This *will* result in branching and then each branch will become a separate discussion—like moves in chess

Appendix 2
EWG meeting on Friday 11th April 2014 – minutes
Bharat, Steve B, John, Omar, Janos, Steve M, Schlacke, Clive

1. CCMJ set up in 1960s.

2. In 1990s meetings went to House of Commons but the planning people continued to meet in a café and then Friends House, followed by SES.
3. SES is focused on Henry George exclusively plus there is a cost.
4. SES funding – endowed.
5. Radical economic ideas resisted by the “progressive” organisations and media.
6. Georgist section in the SES library.
7. This is the history of activism for political and economic change – groups disintegrate over time.

Opportunities – up to 3 opportunities each: unique opportunity to work on a focused agenda based on
empirical evidence to dismantle the sources of concentrated power.

8. Credibility and “brand popularity” to lead a global movement for change.

9. Other organisations are now talking about guaranteed income; St Paul’s eviction time has now expired – other groups going to the City to meet and protest – meeting in April to remember Robert Lockyer, shot by Oliver Cromwell – Our proximity to the City of London as the nexus of power over the corrupt system to be the focus of dissent and action.
10. Occupy needs educate the young about economics – alternative to capitalism v socialism.

11. Update Little Book of Ideas focused on the what should be done to resolve the problems specified in the first edition.

12. Opportunities to do things for ourselves – find opportunities within the the Weaknesses identified last week.
13. Question time – house price bubble –assumption that BoE will fix it.
14. Housing and Debt is a huge issue – David Harvey, Crisis of Capitalism.
15. Topical report needed from the EWG incorporating other ideas.
16. Get our work out there and gain credibility.
17. 15Th October anniversary.

18. Climate Change – slogan of the politicians; it’s the trade, financial, economic and social climate is what’s important.
19. Educational opportunities.
20. UK has problems worse than in some “third world” countries.
21. People are unhappy.
22. Third way – new economic system needed.
23. Main objective is to establish new financial systems independent of vested interests.
24. Educating others and ourselves – promoting issues.
25. Reading group for self education – as a separate entity.
26. Duty to educate others about workable alternatives.
27. Campaigning can be critical or positive.
28. The Commons provides an alternative which is both critical and offers positive ways forward.
29. Accept a narrower focus but would like to incorporate the Commons.
30. City of London relationship with the government.
31. Collusion between government and finance.
32. Reclaim the Commons.
33. Prosecute the wrong doers for theft of the Commons.
34. Class actions eg.
35. Bank of Canada was sued, unsuccessfully but it forced the 1% to mount a defence.
36. Difference is an opportunity – create a new positive meme within the group.
38. Social mix of EWG doesn’t reflect the early occupants at St Paul’s.
39. Need divergence of creative and intelligence (the young/gender).
40. Listen to each other – empathy.
41. Different creative process and how we relate to each other – opportunities have the potential to arise.
42. Opportunistic input into events as they unfold.
43. Take advantage of the cracks in the system.
44. Backing of conservatives (eg.
45. Balcombe) growing – clear, crystallised, solid focused ideas to draw on those people.
46. We can’t anticipate but if we’re focused we’ll be ready to respond.
47. Dissatisfaction with the Parliamentary system.
48. Haldane agreed suggestion for a Bankers Charter.
49. Occupy summer festival/camp in Hyde Park – profile.
50. Occupy is a real force and are a threat to the system – the establishment looks over their shoulder.
51. FB Occupy Economics page to engage – it is an open group
52. space – but access is restricted – not an issue.
53. Fundamental necessity for truth.
54. Post-modernist “relative truth”.
55. Truth is what God knows and what I can discover.
56. As a scientist you have to believe in truth.
57. Elephant – do we see it all? Perspective co-joined by others.
58. Declaration of certainty could repel others.
59. Relativism and perspectivism – have a right to that.
60. Enough shared perspective.
61. Truth via community.
62. Need to help people find the truth through sharing of information.
63. Inner truths we have but some things are contextualised as truth.
64. Not mutually exclusive.
65. Problems understanding from different perspectives.
66. We can be connected to the truth – it’s about love – beyond words.
67. Truth is objective – people are suffering.

Threats – Apparent political stance not to talk to politicians – unless we can show them up as cheats and charlatans – we will be defeated.
68. Only strength is from words – with truth as far as it can be ascertained.
69. Like a lawyer we need to destroy their arguments.
70. Biggest obstacle – lack of clarity in what we are for and what we want to achieve.
71. Divergence of views.
72. Until we come up with something we can all agree on, we can’t move forward.
73. Agreed – hence to agree the aims – set of principles through consensus (unanimity is not necessary) –
reformism v revolution needs to be resolves.
74. Nearly there in terms of principles.
75. Road to shared Commons vision (stewardship).
76. Occupy has only recently revived GA – in trouble internally.
77. Governance of Occupy WG.
78. FB page Occupy Economics – Oxford economists controlled.
79. Infiltration – capitalism will become irrelevant in the face of truth.
80. Truth will resolve all problems.
81. Founded in ancient history.
82. Lies dissolve in the light of truth, like a vampire in the sunlight.
83. Ideas/concept has to be in the middle of mind and spirit.
84. Truth is born in selflessness and solid, impregnable and we look after everyone including the 1%.
85. Truth rejects no one.
86. We are own biggest threat to ourselves.
87. Tendencies towards entropy.
88. Internally may be chaos but on the outside horizontal decision making is popular.
89. Experiences of the group may seem negative but are positive outside.
90. Lacking organisational skills – lack of agenda.
91. Lack of opportunities to implement individuals’ ideas.
92. Clarity is the economic system.
93. Lacking media coverage to attract.
94. No fear – mustn’t be afraid to tackle contentious topics such as JFK, 9/11 and climate change.
95. Don’t need to worry about MSM as attention will come on to us when truth occupies the centre.
96. Don’t be anxious about making mistakes.
97. Threat of group think that causes self censorship Thought police on issues like JFK 9/11 Climate change.
98. People need personal space – everybody needs a home and place to retreat to.
99. Sanctuary within ourselves.
100. Treating ourselves and others gently and opportunities will emerge.
101. Occupy “brand” is a weaknesses itself.
102. When the aim is established, it works much easier.
103. Commons and women’s movements had a shared vision.
104. Horizontality, works when we’re critical but fails when agreeing alternatives.
105. Warning mechanism not a solution provider.
106. Decisions on how Occupy organises is process.
107. Need to make consensus works but need boundaries.
108. Complete free for all.
109. Future topic – governance by consensus takes a lot of time.
110. Very masculine group – is a weakness. Monday some will attend for business.
If they want to come to meetings they will come.

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Occupier at OccupyLSX Camp. Then an Occupy Nomad. The revolution will be Livestreamed.

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