This is the title of an influential essay by Jo Freeman aka Joreen about the many subtle and insidious risks of leaderless movements, including, for instance, the formation of unacknowledged and informal elites. Her recommendations on principles to avoid such dangers are interesting, and are pasted below. The essay does not discuss more structured systems of decision-making within leaderless movements (the Occupy General Assembly and Spokescouncil models are examples of such)....
Occupy Niall Ferguson! My row over #occupybank with the Prof #ows
This has just been broadcast on the BBC in the UK, and will be soon on the BBC World Service.
Every year, the BBC holds the “Reith lecture” which is a major set-piece speech by some public figure on an issue of the day. Niall Ferguson this year gave a series of talks on “The Rule of Law”. He and I had a bit of a contretemps at the recording of the lecture a few weeks ago, in New York City.
His lecture is in any case...
Published on The Nation (http://www.thenation.com)
Occupy Wall Street and a New Politics for a Disorderly World
Carne Ross | February 7, 2012
The global financial crisis has provoked a profound and necessary questioning of the prevailing political and economic orthodoxy. So pervasive is this disillusionment with the current order that it is hard to find anyone prepared to defend it. Disorder is the new order; disequilibrium rules, and old assumptions no longer hold.
As Kuhn’s theory might...
Article published online in The Nation on December 22nd, 2011:
Revolution through Banking?
Carne Ross | December 22, 2011
It has been clear for some time that the conduct of the banking and financial industry is one very important cause of the 2008 credit crunch. Moreover, for-profit banks by and large fail to deliver services to the poor, deepening poor people's marginalization from the mainstream economy. The banks relentless pursuit of profit, an intrinsic feature of the industry (as of...
This note was shared with members of the OWS working group on Alternative Banking today:
The Commons: A Good Bank
This note has been prepared by the alternative banking working group of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. The note is for discussion with the OWS movement and more broadly.
The purpose of this note is to describe the characteristics of an ideal bank that embodies the values of the OWS movement. The current...
The Daily Telegraph features The Leaderless Revolution as a book of the year for 2011. Key passage below:
John Burnside. The surprise hit of 2011, in our house at least, was The Leaderless Revolution (Simon and Schuster, £16.99), an inspiring plea for emergent anarchism from former British WMD and sanctions expert Carne Ross. If everyone read this book, politics might begin to be about trusting each other rather than lobbies, subsidies and cynicism
Huffington Post did a great little piece on the Alternative Banking working group that I'm part of. You can find the original article here. I've also pasted it below. Thank you Janell Ross for coming along, and taking an interest.
While weatherworn protesters continue to demonstrate in Zuccotti Park and prepare for winter, one arm of the Occupy Wall Street movement is debating a far larger concern: the architecture of an alternative financial system they say...
The Alternative Banking working group of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is meeting this afternoon. Here are some suggestions for the meetng:
Here are a few notes to get us started this afternoon. These are just suggestions for discussion.
First, an introduction. I am a former British diplomat, one of two who resigned over the Iraq war. I was in the foreign service for 15 years. I founded and now run a non-profit diplomatic advisory group, Independent Diplomat,...
The other night, at the Occupy Wall Street "General Assembly", I announced the formation of a new working group to examine alternatives to the current banking system.
The idea is to explore existing alternatives to mainstream high street banks (credit unions, cooperative banks etc), think about an ideal system, then try to set it up. No small ambition. But you've got to start somewhere.
At Zuccotti Park, I asked those interested to email me at email@example.com if they wished to...