Open Season on Open Space

This below is from an Australian politics/culture site called Larvatus Prodeo.

Norton’s Five (Descriptive) Laws of Social Movement Gatherings

By Paul Norton on November 7, 2011

Many LP contributors and readers will have come across the principles of Open Space Technology (OST) at social movement gatherings. These principles are:

1. Whoever turns up are the right people.
2. It starts when it’s meant to.
3. You are free to do what is of value to you.
4. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
5. When it’s over, it’s over.

Many will also believe that these principles are of great merit as aspirational goals for how social movement gatherings should proceed. However, those of us who work in the social sciences and humanities will be aware that worthy prescriptive models of social and political processes (e.g. pluralism) are not always accurate as descriptive models of those processes. I don’t believe I’m alone in having discovered that this is often the case in relation to social movement processes. To improve our understanding of the actual dynamics of the new mass social movements and alternative political parties, I offer…

Norton’s Five (Descriptive) Laws of Social Movement Gatherings:

First Law. Whoever turns up are the right people, except for a small but intransigent minority who will be just sufficiently numerous and experienced in meeting tactics to prevent agreement on anything for the duration of the gathering.

Second Law. It never starts when it’s meant to.

Third Law. You are not free to do what is of value to you because of the moral and emotional blackmail exercised by the small but intransigent minority mentioned in the First Law to ensure that the gathering spends hours debating their priority issues.

Fourth Law. Whatever happens is not the only thing that could have happened, and could have been avoided by the adoption of sensible processes on which it unfortunately proved impossible to reach agreement due to the operation of the First Law.

Fifth Law. When it’s over, the recriminatory on-line arguments will continue for years afterwards.

Commenters are welcome to propose alterations and additions to these laws.


About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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3 Responses to Open Season on Open Space

  1. leavergirl says:

    My first laugh of the day. 😀
    Please see the “no asshole rule” to short circuit this whole sorry trap.

  2. leavergirl says:

    Here is good post that is trying to steer Occupy people toward Open Space and similar good things.

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