November 1st, 2011

The Choir, and Participatory Democracy

Okay, Schrunk Park got raided at 5am. I stayed in my tent and out of trouble two blocks away, which is the best thing for me to be doing under the circumstances. Hint For Protestors: Make sure you can transmit live video from your phone. As the internet cliche has it, "No pics and it didn't happen!"

My understanding from second-hand reports is that the lead group of gestapoids were from Homeland Security, but that the large backup contingent from the Portland Police had a major calming influence on the action. I only heard a couple of loud bangs (probably "flash/bang" bombs), and the hubbub was fairly quiet -- no more screaming than we've had from alternate-sanity street folks over the last few days.

I've been attending as much of the General Assemblies as I can stay awake through. As I see it, a part of the problem is that participatory democracy has a high learning curve, and we have a rotating pool of beginners needing to get their feet wet. Having a beginner's *class* would be a great idea -- I'd love to hear a facilitator tell someone "Go to tomorrow afternoon's intro class and come back tomorrow night with your point if you feel it's still valid," but even if someone has *had* an intro class there's a more fundamental problem.

I've been trying to get the Juggalos and the Sociologists to talk to each other. Amusingly, to my perceptions it's the street kids who have a much more fundamental grasp of the problem, but that's beside the current point: That both groups have valid perspectives, that a lot more other groups have equally valid perspectives, that there exist yet *other* perspectives that are equally valid and may be equally important and/or immediate that don't have a constituency or pressure-group to support or advance them, and we do not have (I'm tempted to add "as yet," but it's not clear to me this problem has *ever* been substantially addressed) a method for making sure we keep *track* of all the issues we have while still moving forward on *taking action* on whatever the most important/immediate need is.

The Ideas, Ideals, and Issues database could be a tool for this. But for it to become so I'd have to take time away from being *here* and trying to work on *this* problem to go hide in a hole for some days and do design work. Maybe I need to do that -- but tomorrow I want to attend a workshop at the Multnomah Friend's House, and I need to get someone to cover my 11am committee meeting if I'm going to do that. (For my own reference, they're at 44th and Stark on the other side of the river, and I need to take 39th St. north to Stark before cutting further east to 44th, which doesn't go through that far south.)

We can't do everything at once. But to get a *lot* of us to do *anything*, we need some way of assuring those of us whose personal issues aren't on the top of the pile that we haven't been forgotten, and that our needs will be gotten to *soon enough*. And that our input will have been heard on how soon "enough" is.

The UUFC choir has a similar issue: Lots more people *want* to sing than are *good* at singing. And they want to be all-inclusive, at the same time they want to produce good music. And to a large extent they *succeed* -- even if *I'm* not at all sure *how*.

More as available access permits.