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Lope Gutiérrez-Ruiz

Founder / Co-Director, The Gopher Illustrated


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What do organized communities achieve more efficiently than government? What could they achieve?"

Live TED Conversation: Join TED Fellow Lope Gutiérrez-Ruiz!

Lope Gutiérrez-Ruiz’s eye-popping editorial projects, collaborations and celebrated festivals are creating “pathways to coexistence and tolerance.”

This conversation will open at 11:00am CDT/ 1 pm EDT on Friday 07th, 2011.


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    Oct 7 2011: Organized communities separate from the government I think are essential to give voice and attention the needs of a democratic society. Especially through new media and the concept of the “citizen journalist” these groups have the ability to spread, share, and discuss ideas on a global level that often the government would shy away from tackling.

    What is interesting now, especially with (as you touched on Adam) these Occupy movements, is how the press and politicians are choosing to discuss them. It is a personal frustration of mine coming from a media background to see the dismissive angle that many government or big-business outlets are choosing to take on them. Knowing news from an industry viewpoint sheds light on the fact that once one media outlet takes a perspective there will be competition for that story and so many others will follow suit with the same angle. That is why it is so essential that organized community groups use their own form of media to get their message out to the public in the way they want it to be heard. Of course it is also important for these organizations to be focused and concise with what they are asking for and whom they are talking to. If they do this and are relentless about their clarity and purpose then larger businesses and the government will be forced to listen.
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      Oct 7 2011: Hi Samantha! Now that you and Adam mention the Occupy-* movement and news, one thing I'm curious about is outreach. I remember that on a previous thread in TED Conversations somebody brought up the problem of "empathy fatigue", the fact that we're connected to so many people and initiatives that it becomes harder to empathize with anyone beyond our closest circles (family / friends). In your opinion, how can Occupy keep being a relevant movement as time passes?
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        Oct 7 2011: I think it will remain relevant because the inertia of the existing system is too great to change direction without tons of people falling overboard. Yet our direction must change abruptly as we have gone from a world of excess to a world of scarcity and will remain there until the system is sufficiently retooled to use less scarce resources and structurally support the headcount again. Some % of those falling overboard will join the Occupy* movement, as it is setup to collect and care for them. (keep them from drowning)
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          Oct 7 2011: Yep, it brings to mind the Okupa movements that have existed for decades in Spain and other countries in Europe, which create self-sustaining "squatting" (it obviously depends on the legal interpretation) communities; they're a referent in my work, but as a movement they seem unable to achieve their legal and political goals. I still wonder about the future of Occupy, winter and Wall Street notwithstanding.
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        Oct 7 2011: Hi Lope,

        I think that because of the all-encompassing nature of the issues that Occupy movement bring up it it will remain very relevant for a long time. I have been down to Wall Street recently to speak with some of those who have been there for over two weeks now and many are either victims of long-term unemployment and have ample time and a lot of passion to stay down there and continue to protest or many are students who worry that their immense debt after college will make them victims of our economic situation now. I think because these two groups are so huge (in sheer size) that the movement will not have trouble growing.

        What I think is absolutely essential for them to really instigate change down there is to give voice to the people who are talking about alternative solutions to the current problem and to directly address those who they need help from. By doing this they will shift the perspective of the media from a group of people who are angry about not having jobs and hate big business instead to a group of people who have highlighted some bad policy and have different ideas of how to change it. This will gain them respect and even more support from people who have the ability to internally change economic policy. These game-changers are down there, they just need to really establish themselves as authority figures of the movement and be heard.
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      Oct 7 2011: The be-your-own-media is one of the things modern technology is helping with, for example there are several livestreams for the OccupyWallStreet movement which I think have helped significantly. The hard part is reaching enough of the right people, especially when competing against professional/at-scale advertising. An open social analytics framework for use by and developed by the community like Linux could go a long way in keeping up with the arms race.
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        Oct 7 2011: I definitely agree Adam. Targeting the right people to get support is essential and also a great difficulty especially like you said when you're competing with professional advertising.

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