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Forum Post: Want to come up with coherent demands w/o leaders? Here's how.

Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 1, 2011, 1:13 p.m. EST by DoctorX (11)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I can't help but notice that a lot of you are still stuck on the "we don't need leaders yet" vibe. OK, I get it. But you do need Demands to maintain a focus, keep things going and augment your public support, whence the occupation can grow.

There IS a way to produce the demands urgently needed without burdening yourself with hierarchical leaders. I have done some research and have determined that the Syntegrity method discovered by the British cybernetic scientist Stafford Beer is EXACTLY what is needed. It is a perfectly democratic, non-hierarchic methodology of producing plans for action.

Let me quote from the Syntegrity promotional literature:

"In the book 'Beyond Dispute. The Invention of Team Syntegrity' that he published in 1994, Stafford Beer described the genetic code of effective communication in a large group of people, the code that produces the properties required for effective communication, even when the moderators we have to work with are of only mediocre ability and the people we have to work with are ordinary human beings with average communication skills.

....

Beer found the ideal structure in what is called the icosahedron, the most complex of the five platonic bodies. The icosahedron is a regular polyhedron having 20 faces, 12 vertices and 30 edges...He placed the topics for discussion at the twelve vertices of the icosahedron and the people at its thirty edges.

....

With this model, thirty brains are – as it were – networked together in such a way that they operate as one joint brain that is that much more powerful. Each of the twelve topics is dealt with by a group of the optimum size of five people. In this case, the topics are networked via the people, because each person is involved in a number of topics. As well as his or her role as a team member for two topics, each person also performs two other roles: he or she is a critic for two other topics and an observer for four others. This means that each topic is not only discussed by five members but is also added to by five critics and observed by up to ten observers.

....

Twelve aspects (topics) of one general topic are dealt with in a networked and selfcoordinating fashion. The result obtained from each topic is a plan of action. Because of the self-coordination, the twelve part-results fit together like the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle to give a logically consistent and conclusive overall picture: a coordinated and comprehensive overall plan of action with no conflicting goals.

....

The people are networked together to the maximum degree possible. Each person enters into the maximum possible exchange with all the other people.

....

The syntegration model is a learning organization. Statements are no longer connected with the person who made them. They are heard by other people, picked up, multiplied and fed into other topics. Hence it is the relevance of statements that determines the weight given to them, rather than the status of the person who said something. This is important because it enables people who have knowledge to make their influence felt, even though they may be positioned fairly low down in the hierarchy. The structure is non-hierarchical – there is no top or bottom in the icosahedron. Each participant has the same opportunities for influencing the result.

....

As well as the mathematical and geometrical elegance and efficiency of the structure, as well as psychological and neurophysiological aspects, and as well as principles of the theories of communication and information, we also find in the syntegration many principles of cybernetics applied in practice: feedback, an iterative procedure (each group meets three times), real-time information, redundancy, recursivity, information completeness, self-organization, self-regulation, and so on."

Details on how to implement the procedure can be had in a .pdf document, THE COHERENT ARCHITECTURE OF TEAM SYNTEGRITY: FROM SMALL TO MEGA FORMS by J. Truss, C. Cullen and A. Leonard.

I STRONGLY recommend that people in the Occupy camps form themselves in groups of 30 (or, to use the technical term, Infoset) and use the procedure immediately. Presumably, they can then send one or two chosen or even randomly selected deputies to form a super-infoset, and so on until one big set of demands that have the consensus of the movement are formed. And the process produces highest-factor results, not lowest-common denominator results.

Go to it guys. You now have the methodology that you've really been looking for, SO USE IT.

5 Comments

5 Comments


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[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 10 years ago

Sounds like a good idea to me, but most folks on this site seem to be averse to concrete ideas that bring forth change. You know, like starting a mass movement right here and now to vote for a third party for congressional elections.

[-] 1 points by Just1MoreVoice (76) 10 years ago

Don't we already have a representative democracy? What you are describing here sounds like your conception of the most efficient way to organize a representative democracy. It has the advantage of placing everyone into a position that more or less forces them to really think about each issue, to submit to the challenging of their ideas and to debate their value.

I know from experience that there is going to be a strong potential for violence to erupt during the discussion of some of these topics, so it would be best to try doing this online, first. I'd suggest you design this system into a web site, give everyone a pass and randomly sort them into your infosets. Then agree on your 12 topics (probably the most difficult part of the process) and give each account role-defined access to semi-private chat rooms in which to discuss/critique/observe each topic assigned to them.

How long do you expect this process to take? I think you will have to be very patient. In any random sampling of people, there are bound to be a number that are so chained to their own dogmatic views that they can't abide any serious challenge to them and if they are outvoted will likely cry "tyranny of the majority!" How will you deal with that?

[-] 2 points by DoctorX (11) 10 years ago

Uh, if you already had an effective system of representative democracy, the there would be no need for these occupations now, would there?

I don't see why any violence would erupt at these meetings. They are not meant for internet use, but real life use.

The whole process of syntegration takes 5 days. These guys out there are already sitting on their asses, they might as well use that time to formulate demands.

And the point of this is to produce a consensus, this is not a vehicle for forwarding dogmatic views. This is a device for finding out the maximum agreement that can be reached between 30 people. Let's make that clear at the outset.

My recommendation is as follows:

a) Form infosets on the ground;

b) Each infoset then tries to locate other infosets (if any). If they are, then the results of each syntegration should be used to make the 12 questions in some sort of super-infoset. If there are 10 infosets for example, each infoset should pick, by election or lot (or both), 3 delegates to the super-infoset.

c) Delegates should be revocable at any time by majority decision of the infoset of origin. The delegate function is meant to be merely representative in nature. The syntegration technique produces results that reliably reflect the opinions of the 30 members - AS A WHOLE.

d) The process ought to continue to make even bigger infosets. The result should be an Infoset Congress for each city. Then they should pool results. Demands common to all, or nearly all, would then be the official demands of the Occcupy Movement.

[-] 1 points by Just1MoreVoice (76) 10 years ago

I agree that the current representative democracy isn't working as it should and that it is in the interests of OWS (and the people at large) to organize an alternative system that does work. I agree as well that what you propose does indeed show great promise.

I feel I must caution you, however, that the results of such an endeavor are as likely to create conflict as they are to create unity. If you leave it up to the people "on the ground" to organize themselves, they are very likely to form partisan infosets that are composed entirely of others who agree with their own views on policy; and as much as you would like it to be otherwise, many of those views will be dogmatic, entrenched, and resistant to criticism. Moreover, whoever is selected to represent each infoset so formed will likely be the members who are least able to reach compromise with the representatives of other infosets.

I still feel the best way to implement this system is to form the infosets randomly and online. That will have the best chance to live up to the ideal you are promoting. Randomly formed infosets will be less dogmatic and have a much better chance to produce representatives that can negotiate fairly rather than dig in their heels or threaten that unless the opinions of their infoset are accepted whole-cloth, that infoset will withdraw from the process.

[-] 1 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 10 years ago

This could be very helpful at the National General Assembly. Please email it to them the99declaration@gmail.com

https://sites.google.com/site/the99percentdeclaration/