Self organisation

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Top-Down Organisation 

In the days before the internet, and especially before the telephone, it was a hell f a job to organise a group of people. Entire institutions, like churches and unions,  were created for this task, These institiutes had the means to put money and lots of manpower to form power blocks.  Without these intstitutions  it would be difficult to organise, imagine what you would have to do to get 10.000 angry members of a profession onto the Malieveld, all on the same time and day!

Self organisation

These days those institutions are not needed for that task at all. With a simple message on the right place on the internet, you can have an army of activists on the move in no time.No costs, no effort. But not all groups are equally easy to organise. Clay Shirky distinguishes between three levels of group organisation:

    1. Sharing: This level is the easiest to achieve, especially if the thing to be shared is digital. With a good platform it is easy for people to share their photos, their opinions, their data, without knowing each other or feeling like they are part of a group.

    2. Collaborative production: Together you make something that become a whole. There is no single owner of the project, and without the contribution of every particiipant the result would not be the same. Take for example how Wikipedia is filled with the time and expertise of many people.

    3. Collective action: On this level, according to Shirky, the internal cohesion in the group determines its success. Participants have to agree to a large extent on the details of the project. When difficult choices have to be made, some people may not agree on the decision but for the project it is vital that they support it anyway..This level demands more coordination than the previous two.

At De WAR another level is added: spontaneous action. Somebody has an idea and finds a place to start at De WAR. In our society it is unusual that there is a place where  people tell you: “Sure, go ahead and do what you think is important.” Most people have somebody to tell them what to do from the cradle to the grave. First parents, then the teacher, the boss, the partner and eventually the nurse. The question: “What do you think should be done and what do you need to do it?” is not often heard, and most people wouldn’t know how to answer it.