My life’s work is about transformation; about getting from where we are to where we would like to be.
The process or the means by which we bring about change is of utmost importance.

I see two main paradigms in the world, and a movement with an opportunity.

One approach is about nonviolence, healing, reconciliation, peace. We have plenty of examples where people choose a means that is congruent with what they are trying to achieve; they walk their talk.

Martin Luther King and Archbishop Desmond Tutu come to mind. Tutu just celebrated his 80th birthday and he continues to be a moral leader. Truth and reconciliation was chosen over retaliation in South Africa.

The other approach is about getting tough, retribution, punishment, war.  Some argue that the “end justifies the means”. Former president Bush and ex-vice president Cheney use this argument to justify the U.S. government’s use of torture.

I am dismayed by the hypocrisy; their violence means they are like the terrorists being condemned. Lawyers and Amnesty International are calling for the arrest of Bush and Cheney for war crimes and torture when they cross into Canada.

I am curious how the Occupy protestors are choosing to bring about change. By what means?

Over the last month, Occupy Wall Street has turned into an Occupy Together movement that’s spreading across the globe; there are events already in 87 countries. This weekend, Occupy came to cities across Canada. Day 1 of Occupy Vancouver drew about 5,000 people.

This is a nonviolent movement. They peacefully occupy public space.

I’m impressed that the protestors are spending a lot of time working through their process. In Vancouver, they spent two hours working on consensus and then marched. They recognize that they must align with what they desire – true democracy for all. They have no identified leaders, no hierarchy and everyone’s voice is to be heard.

I do work using collaboration and consensus models with various groups and organizations. I have yet to do consensus work with thousands of people, as the Occupy protestors are doing. This is a good video from Occupy Wall Street explaining their General Assembly model.

Their means for change can be messy and slow; yet they are committed to inclusion and working together in a respectful manner. They recognize that we truly are all in this mess together and top down approaches are not appropriate.

Pay attention governments. Harper: pushing through legislation because you have a majority government does not mean it is representative or will benefit Canadians. And it seems the 99% have something to say.

Without identified leaders and no hierarchy, they have sparked an international conversation. This is a miraculous accomplishment in itself.

The global Occupy movement is an opportunity and potentially a defining moment. I wonder how it will unfold. Will we move forward in the tradition of King and other visionaries, or will we move forward with violence and more declarations of war in the tradition of leaders like Bush?

What kind of a leader do you choose to be?