Proposal: Propose Stories

May 5, 2012


If the World is a book, it is written by power. If the political movements of the poors are so far incoherent, it is because they are responding to an incoherent world. If the world has become incoherent, it is because the kind of power that rules tends to corrupt, and the kind of power that rules still holds sway. Even so, the story of writing a coherent world has already begun: a coherent world can be written by proposing stories that others may take up; there is a different kind of power in merely proposing stories.

Still, pages are missing, chapters are botched. Of course, “We object!” Such objections are becoming increasingly common. All that is needed for the world to become coherent is for the poors to become increasingly capable of authoring the world. Fictions narrate virtual worlds of the past, present, and future. Non-fictions recount real worlds gone by. Between fact and fiction, a different kind of story can be found: a story of the future written by poors; stories for life the poors will play out; an endless script whose narrative threads include continuing to write the book of world.

Too many stories have been declared with an expectation that others will take them up as their habits, too many orders have been given. Rather than pushing stories on to others, new stories can instead be merely proposed. Some stories may be familiar because they refresh old stories, other stories may also appear strange and apparently from nowhere because they arise during acts of pure invention. Stories that work may be retold and remembered, stories that fail may be put aside and forgotten. By distillation and invention, through trial and error, in memory and forgetting, the World can be filled with stories that work.

But without knowing which outcomes a story was desired to obtain, a story cannot easily be replaced with a better story. And rather than believing in stories without knowing what they are for, the desired outcomes of a story can instead be made known. Stories that are proposed with outcomes that are known can be improved through constructive objection. Desires are transient, habits can take time to be changed, and when desired outcomes are recorded as tests, today’s desires can put both today’s and tomorrow’s habits to the test. Even the story of proposing a story can be proposed in this way, so that desirable stories can be put forward in an increasingly desirable way.

(Opinions are quickly negated and opposing opinions cancel each other out. Without a context, statements appear as opinions. When a statement is made in the context of desires for another world, it appears as a proposal. Proposals can also be negated by objection, but objections tend to improve proposals. At any rate, there are always desires for another world. And so everything is a proposal. Opinions are just empty proposals. Never mind the people who immediately say the opposite is true!)


Proposals for stories can be tested by asking the following questions:

1. Does the proposal have a name, a background, an outcome, and a story?

2. Does the name indicate the activity of the story?

3. Does the background contain objections that the outcomes resolve?

4. Do the outcomes contain tests for the story?

5. Does the story describe how to obtain the outcomes that are desired?

6. Does the story proposal make the collection of story proposals more coherent?

7. Is the proposal published openly?


– Method One – 

Create a blank document and add three headings: background, outcome, story.

Write the background as a situation that is objectionable.

Write down the tests that have led to the objectionable situation.

Write down a more desirable outcome with a series of tests.

Write down the simplest story that could possible make the tests pass.

Think of a name for the story and use it as the title of the document.

Mention other stories which follow or precede or are refined by the story proposal, so that the overall coherence of the web of story proposals is improved.

Publish the proposal openly.

– Method Two –

What concerns you? What is objectionable? Vacillate, and notice your objections. What might actually work instead? Vacillate, and think of some tests. Ask how could things actually work instead? Vacillate again, and fashion a story. Vacillate again, and name your concern. Take a break. Take it to others? Ask them to consider your concerns. Resolve their objections. Try to repeat?

Take yourself for a walk. Be merely objective. Write it all down. Rearrange the words until they make more sense. Call it a diagram? Call it whatever seems best. Call it a script, or call it a story? Run it past somebody, or run others through it. Does it work, how can you tell? Do it over again, how does it feel? Does it pull you along, will they remember? Call it a joy, or call it a day. Perhaps make it available sometime tomorrow.

Publish proposals openly. Others can try them, they can tell you what’s wrong. Play with proposals, keep them in play. The name, the background of objections, the tests for the outcome, the diagram of the story, and the practised habit can be forever in process. Proposals are only ever tried out. Proposals can remain open for objections, it’s how we resolve the objections that counts.


By Various Occupiers. This proposal is being developed with a view to improving the processes of both Occupy London’s General Assembly and the wider world. While the processes surrounding the GA were originally recorded as a list of activities*, this proposal seeks to rewrite and then continuously improve these activities as a collection of story proposals. The GA Planning WG is continuing to develop these ideas at meetings held each Saturday at 4pm on the steps of St Paul’s.

*The old description of process surrounding General Assemblies can be found here: