Movement Sense-Making

The Future of Occupy project is neither about predicting nor advising the future of the movement. No one can predict or advise the emergent qualities of a living system. What we do want to do is provide a useful service to Occupy, by curating the news and views related to its identity and strategy scattered in the Occupy media and on websites sympathizing with the movement.

You can read the heading of this section both as:

Occupy Movement” Sense-making, and/or Occupy “Movement Sense-making”.

As we read it the second way, we see the movement itself consciously engaging with the process of sensing and making meaning out of what is emerging in the world as a result of its actions.

How could that happen? One of the possible ways was identified by a commenter on The Future of the Occupy Movement, by Jules Lobel:

1. OWS needs to develop a video and documentary record/ library of all major debates/decisions and its most valued (if not all) productions coming from Occupied encampments… This record/library needs protection from devilish manipulation/distortion so it should be periodically sent out (CD?) to trustworthy places/people all around the world far safe-keeping and then updated versions likewise.  
2. A humble think-tank like mechanism needs to be established/organized that will analyze this OWS library (#1) and produce more literature and actionable material (specific democratic processes, rules and procedures, dynamic manuals, etc.). 
3. Link #s 1 and 2 above with universities, movements, organizations, NGOs, etc. which are investigated and perceived as good partners in building a better future. 
4. Request contributions in material from heretofore fair players in distribution, like Truthout. 
5. Expand the discussion on the nature and the future of OWS in our minds…

While the details of what will actually happen will more than likely vary from the one introduced above, we trust that a process somehow akin to that will unfold sooner or later. We intend to do what we can for that development because it is essential for the movement to become a force capable to transform society and guide our way out of the intertwined global crises we inherited from the obsolete systems of economy, finance, and governance.

Our mission is to serve the self-organizing collective consciousness and intelligence of the movement, and the co-creativity of Occupiers everywhere. Collaborative sensing and thinking is a crucial part of the movement and essential to scale up and win. We want to provide Occupy with an enabling platform for discovering its future, emerging from the best practices and ideas of its present.

This online collection will not and cannot be comprehensive. Our focus is on the longer now and we select documents that have broader scope and relevance. In the spirit of transparency, we have published the full set of our inclusion criteria, here, where we explain some of the specific things we take into consideration when deciding what to post. How you can get involved is shown here.

Collaborative sensing and meaning-making by all, not only by the few, is a critical component of the much needed social, economic, and political transformation. The FoO collective is committed to provide equal access to discover and validate the patterns of successful practices and theories emerging from the materials we present.

Our aim is not to produce a uniform perspective on the future of the movement, but to present the diversity of existing views. Our collective also welcomes people who may be critical to aspects of the movement, providing that their contribution is made in the spirit of creative friction rather than being destructive and confrontational. We hope, the vibrancy of FoO will make the movement more resilient and contribute to its evolution.

If you want to learn more about sense-making, read this blogpost.

See also The Imperative of Movement Sense-Making.

11 Comments on “Movement Sense-Making”

  1. December 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Dear George, Mary Beth, Michel and the Whole Team,

    This website is greatly needed and I think will make a substantial difference in leading the way to the future.

    Kosmos Journal will be supporting you all the way.

    Nancy Roof and Team

  2. December 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Thank you, Nancy and Kosmos friends!

    Kosmos Journal has been in the forefront of commons education by publishing the pioneering work of James Quilligan and others.

    I feel that activating and protecting the rights of all to our common wealth and the essence of the Occupy movement are inseparable.

    Looking forward to explore ways of working together for a better future.


  3. Helen Francis
    December 15, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    This is brilliant news. It has been my intention to join the encampments over the christmas period and future weekends to experience and report on the events, I visited a few weekends ago to the UBS building and left with a compelling need to write about the people, the activities, talks and all basic talks, general day-to-day activity and organisation of the Occupy movements.. I would very much like to be a part of this, to know there maybe a place for these observations to be published along side numerous other perspectives allows an indepth insight into the very nature of the Occupy movement.

    If my comments are welcome i look forward to submitting my response to the Occupy movement next year.

    Good luck to all who take the next step,

    Helen Francis

    • December 15, 2011 at 1:50 am #

      Dear Helen, thank you! The FoO project invites wide community participation so we are delighted you stopped by and took the time to comment.

      Speaking personally, your message warmly resonates with me, my first experience visiting occupy was also at the UBS building aka Bank of Ideas, I too left compelled by the movement, the individuals, its dynamics. The more I visit the more stories of the past, the present & the future I hear and begin to co-create! Its very exciting and a huge learning experience.

      To find out where your skills and talents can be best utilised come along and explore the ways you can participate at: My initial sense is that you could make a great social reporter, and to whatever extent you want to get involved with this or other roles in our open collaborative please let us know! Contact us here for further conversation:

      Warm appreciation of your next step
      Mark Jagdev

  4. January 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Wonderful and amazing. To me, this feels like a small step for an assembly but a large step for society. It resonates with what Bruce H. Lipton and Steve Bhaerman outline in Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here.

    Re: Collaborative sensing and meaning-making by all, maybe we can engage technology to save us all some time by recording our engagement while recording and replaying the video documentary. I mean, with our diverse interest and capabilities to contribute, how do we find the times in a video we feel most valuable to review and engage on? I edited a pre-Occupy video as a crude mock-up to explain one of many ways.
    Want more meaning from meetings? How to untangle the conversation.

  5. January 7, 2012 at 1:19 am #

    Thank you ALL for this opportunity to engage in this vital collective of insights and strategies. The perspective offered here resonates deeply within the life that I experience. I also sense the Spontaneous Evolution occurring, and a positive future is possible….in the light of this compassionate dialogue.

    As I begin to better understand what is happening in this Sense-Making, perhaps some of the notes that I have been keeping over the years will find resonance here.

    In Solidarity and deep appreciation for all of the efforts of the Many….

    Margaret Baco

  6. January 7, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    Dear Margaret,

    We always try to connect with subscribers and visitors on a meaningful and deeper level. Having done a little search I found you on the Mandala Ning site and feel resonance with what you shared there:

    Integrative Health, creativity, poetry, ecology, spirituality with a new focus on learning how to facilitate community health through the development of enrichment programs for individuals seeking to empower themselves and their local environment.

    This is very close to my heart. I am looking for people/professionals in the field of health and welfare to help sense into and reflect on what new institutions could support and bring into being a participatory, sustainable and life-enhancing healthcare system. Would that be something you had appetite to explore? If so please drop me a line: anna at


  7. March 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    The intersection of nonviolence and strategy

    Nonviolence plays a many faceted part in Occupy. Here is an extraordinary interview that illustrates how nonviolence is woven into the fabric of Occupy. both as a tactic and a strategy.

    Arrested for Meditating? Why it’s Radical to Stay Nonviolent in the Face of Police Brutality
    By Sarah van Gelder, YES! Magazine
    Posted on February 29, 2012

    “I believe that nine out of ten actions must be creating the community that we want to live in—we’re talking about permaculture, independent media, restorative justice, gift economies, free currencies, and preventive medicine. By doing all that, we make ourselves stronger.
    If you are creating true alternatives to the collapsing, rotten system then you will naturally come into conflict with the power structure. Then the political action becomes necessary. So I think one out of ten actions should be obstructive—that is boycotts and protests and marches and nonviolent civil disobedience.
    But when we cultivate inner awareness, it’s easy to see that what we need to do is spend most of our time creating the communities that we want to live in.”

  8. March 3, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    I cant help but say an unreserved ‘YES’ to creating the community we want to live in for most of our time while engaging also in obstructive activity where the public and private sector disrespect life and actually destroy communities through bad policies.
    The better we will get at connecting already existing activities like permaculture, independent media, restorative justice, gift economies, free currencies, and preventive medicine, the faster they will recognise each other and collaborate in more explicit solidarity for the common good.
    What I would add however is that there will also always be ambiguity and diversity and we will need to learn how to align for a bigger purpose and find synergy in all the differences.
    This is where language and communciation will be needed to take our differences and synergise them. We will need to learn to live with differences and remember that we dont all have the same big picture projections.
    The crucial point seems to be how to find common purpose that helps people to align in action even when they dont share the same world view or belief system.
    A participant on the Occupy Integral call suggested that alignment was more important than agreement as alignment gathers different streams of energy together into a single light i.e. coherence of a movement is the result of alignment for a common higher purpose which still allows diversity and individual freedom.

  9. May 4, 2012 at 5:58 am #

    A few things emerge that we can do beyond occupy: build new corporations or other organizational units structured to bypass the problems of the oldies. Chances are the greater employee engagement makes them way more competitive.


  1. The Future of the Occupy Movement: a Day of Collaborative Sense-making | The Future of Occupy - January 18, 2012

    […] Movement Sense-Making You are here: Home » The Future of the Occupy Movement: a Day of Collaborative Sense-making […]

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