The Global Square: Towards an Online Platform for the Occupy Movement
The goal of the Global Square is to perpetuate and spread the creative and cooperative spirit of the occupations and transform this into lasting forms of social organization, at the global as well as the local level.
The organization of the 2011 protests and the collaboration between them has rested in part upon the innovative use of social media. However, as a group of volunteers who were directly involved in the coordination of the worldwide protests, we have found the existing social media to be increasingly restrictive in its functionality. While Facebook and Twitter have been very helpful for disseminating basic information and aiding mass mobilization, they do not provide us with the tools for extending our participatory model of decision-making beyond the direct reach of the assemblies and up to the global level. Neither do they provide us with project management tools for our working groups.
We need a platform that allows us to add function and clarity to our global organizational efforts, while maintaining the independence of each local structure. In addition to the local squares, which must have the flexibility to accommodate whichever governance and communication model is decided on by each region, we also need a global square where people around the world can come together to participate in the coordination of collective actions and the formulation of common goals and aspirations. It must combine the communicative functions of the existing social networks with the organizational functions of the assemblies and provide flexibility for the future. It will provide a space for development of work systems of global interest, avoiding redundancy and allowing expertise and effort to be shared. It will allow for great organizational flexibility, so that every section of the movement can work in the organizational style that is most appropriate for them.
The aim of the platform, in this respect, should not be to replace the physical assemblies but rather to empower them by providing the online tools for local and (trans)national organization and collaboration. The ideal would be both to foster individual participation and to structure collective action. The Global Square will be our own public space where different groups can come together to organize their local squares and assemblies — and where different squares can join hands to coordinate their collective projects in any work system such as the News Commons. The platform can also act as a repository for global knowledge and news, to aid in our discussions and help us build for the future and ensure we are creating systems with the best knowledge and expertise available. Systems such as the Philosophy Forums will allow input and expertise to be heard from around the world, while still leaving all final decision making at the local level.
The Global Square should enable the international bonds among people, uniting them from the global context to regional nodes of action and vice versa. Many work systems are better organized by interest and expertise than by land mass, and the Global Square will facilitate this organization. International work groups will avoid redundancy and allow us to share information and create solutions far more efficiently and with access to all of the expertise worldwide.
The Global Square recognizes the principles of personal privacy as a basic right of individuals and transparency to all users as an obligation for public systems. While User Profiles will allow for as much privacy as the individual desires (technology permitting), Squares, Events, and Task Groups must be, at minimum, completely transparent to their user groups, and Systems must be completely transparent for full auditing capability by all Users.