Plans to Restructure Groups

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There are currently about 100 groups on the NYCGA web site and we get more requests for added groups every day. We, at Tech Operations (formerly known as Internet), are very concerned with this situation and after many conversations with other groups in the movement, we know that the negative implications of this are vast and serious. These concerns include the following:

  • Unclear and inaccessible groups: Many working groups listed on the website lack clarity about their function and/or provide no information about what they do or how one can participate in their work. Many have no (or inaccurate) contact information listed and many do not even have a real administrator beyond the site admin who created the group initially.
  • Non-functioning groups: Many working groups are either non-functioning or not actually groups yet they maintain the same status as active and participating working groups.
  • Non-local groups: This site was designed to serve the occupation on the ground at Liberty Plaza and Wall Street. It was not designed to be a central hub for any group involved in the global movement. The groups represented on the site, therefore, should be working actively, on the ground with the OWS occupation. For many of the current groups, this is not the case.
  • Redundant groups: Many groups are redundant in part due to a lack of communcation and transparency; there is no simple way to find out if a project idea has people working on it; collaboration between groups and projects is very difficult; difficult for groups who want to coordinate projects OWS-wide to get the word out.
  • Decreased Productivity: In almost 100% of instanced, the existing groups are overworked and understaffed. Groups need help. We have serious problems that need to be solved (housing, food, transportation, medical, financial, and so much more) and every time we make another fractured, specific, group, we dilute the resources available to the existing groups that are working so hard to solve these problems in a focused way. Instead of starting new groups, which only divide us and split our focus, we should be working on strengthening the groups we have so they can do the important work that needs to be done.
  • Barrier to entry: Inaccessibility for newbies to OWS is extremely high due to the lack of clarity what the OWS activities are. In tandem is a general need of more people involved in OWS Groups & Projects.
  • Over-crowding of the site: With so many groups, it becomes so much harder to find the group you’re looking for, or identify the appropriate forum to have a conversation in. We need to maintain an environment that is digestible to new visitors. If we do not, the site won’t be able to effectively serve anyone in the community and we would not be living up to our charter or our obligation to the movement.
  • Financial complications: With the current standing policy of $100 at-a-time allotment for groups, the Finance Working Group needs a more clear definition and creation process for groups. If just anyone can become a group, then anyone can begin asking for money out of our general fund with no accountability.

As you can see, the situation is complex. The spokes council was supposed to help clarify which groups were Operations Groups, Movement Groups, and Caucuses, but that process has not been moving forward as quickly as many of us had hoped. We in Tech are taking some immediate action and seeking some more long-term solutions to be brought before the GA in collaboration with the Communications Cluster (Tech Ops, Media, Outreach, PR, and Info/ComHub) .

Immediate: We have come to consensus as a group that we are past the point of being able to support new groups until our body as a whole reaches consensus on a good way to manage and ratify groups. We have thus put group creation on hold pending further action by the GA and Spokes council. This is a policy that has been partially in place for weeks now, but that was not clear to all group-creators on the site, so some new groups have continued to slip though. As of today, those exception will no longer occur.

To assist with navigation of the current set of groups, Tech Ops is also considering adding categories to the Group Directory Page based on some existing models and definitions:

  • Operations
  • Caucus
  • Movement
  • Working
  • Affinity / Ally

We are not a decision-making or policy-making body and would like to step back from any implication of being gate-keepers to tech resources in any way. We are therefore not in a position to autonomously determine the requirements to become a group, and we do not want to continue to add to the problems by adding unlimited groups with no-questions-asked. We need the GA to step in and fix this broken system. To this end, we are pursing the following more long-term solutions:

Long-Term: The Communication Cluster is working on coming to consensus on a proposal that will attempt to clarify the group creation and upkeep process. Please read and edit the proposal here: (Remember, you can create your own note pad at

This proposal will be brought to GA on Saturday. Public comment on this pre-draft version ends on Thursday at 1pm so we have time to compile them into a proposal which can go to the facilitation team to be posted online before the 24-hour Future Proposal window. If you would like to participate in the Communication Cluster meeting please join us at 2pm Thursday at 60 Wall St.

We hope that, if passed by GA, this proposal will help Tech Ops manage the website better by allowing us to remove defunct groups and giving new groups clear instructions on how to become a group on this web site.

Let us know how you feel about all this in the comments. Thank you.

86 Responses to “Plans to Restructure Groups”

  1. Jordan

    Bully idea. Things are getting a little wild and too confusing. Categorize and simplify, but don’t lose any content.

    • Trish

      Who put this forward….did it come out of facilitation, tech or was it something that came out of a spokes….attempting to stream line the GA to fit its model of operation?

      • NYCGA Council

        Let’s not confuse a personal account with a working group account in the hope of confusing the issue and the people.

        Especially, when you post in my personal account issues which should be posted in GA working group account.

        Let’s attempt to appear to be fair, after all the entire world is watching.

        Peace & Solidarity

  2. Noor al-Zuccotti

    Are there plans to create a page with forums for all of Occupy to work together? Some groups, especially Movement Building should be allowed to have non-residents participate, because many people around the world are trying to get in contact with NYCGA to co-ordinate and communicate. Does have plans to create a website like

    • Justin Stone-Diaz

      There is the PT Working Group & Movement Building. Both working groups are using the site in dif ways to connect the varous people & occupations.

      I would join Movement Building they need suggestions & help with the forums!

  3. Brendan

    The Tech Operations recommendation is another example of the filters that OWS puts on itself so that in the end it is really just a small group of like mined people who become less and less similar to the population at large with each new restrictive participation rule.

    • Trish

      The GA must has an obligation to monitor Tech, Facilitation and any or all groups that attempt to add, subtract, or reorganize NYCGA. The GA is the heart of the movement let’s not forget who and what the population at large has achieved.

    • Dallas

      Yes, it is a filter. It also aims to address another filter (among other issues): new visitors to the site being overwhelmed by seeing 100+ groups with unclear names and missions, bad contact info, etc.

  4. Jordan

    @brendan It’s a big job. Decisions must be made. Things must move ahead. Mistakes will be made, but that is the price of progress. Hopefully, the mistakes will not become too egregious. More to your point, the group at the core is small right now, but hopefully it will grow and reach outward thoughtfully. Hopefully, they are of strong enough moral fiber to get the job done without becoming intoxicated by their success.

  5. BradB

    Drew, in the old days… 2004 or so… we called these groupings “channels” ie,
    Affinity / Ally

    it worked well moving group pages into areas such that all group divisions could still be stored, and gradually the non-active ones just fizzled out… falling off the screen so to speak… not upsetting anyone…

    now I understand the problems with differentiating groups that actively participate on the ground at Liberty Plaza and those that are just using the space for discussion… the later while not as important is still important… of all the Occupy sites … this one and still have the most and best information… and they are providing a service for all the Occupy sites…

    why not keep all the groups… just sort them under your channels… let them bubble up or fizzle out… really they are just like the forum threads… who cares how many there are… the active ones stay on the top and the non-active ones… fall down the list… and give the ones that have presence at Liberty Plaza their just preference ….no ? just and idea 😉

  6. Barbara Raskin

    This is simple request by Tech Op. to articulate and streamline the process of updating current functioning working groups. Since November 16th, OWS has been working with a new set parameters that is not wholly about the physical space of Zuccotti Park. How could it be a hindrance to ask working groups to update their status in a way that the GA and Spokes Council can support? Personally I have spoken with people at GA who want to become more involved, who want to be a part of a working group but don’t receive any response either by email or phone. There are many of us who cannot be in the park on a daily basis. We are asking for accountability from the 1% so it seems to me that we need to set an example. While there are may issues that have been generated by the removal of the physical encampment and the community that that afforded, we need to find ways to build from this in a spirit of togetherness.

  7. soothsayer

    this (version 2) site is confusing from a usability standpoint, and hope any reorganization (from an upcoming version 3) would clear some of the confusion, and more importantly streamline the flow of information….

    in the meanwhile…… in regards to the “immediate” goal of creating new tabs, i.e., operations, Caucus, movement, Working/affinity/ally/solidarity how about….

    Operations: tech ops, finance, sis, arts and culture, kitchen, direct action, facilitation, minutes, library, education, structure, archive.
    Emergency Support: jail support, housing, medics, comfort, etc.
    Think Tank: alt banking, constitution, think tank, politics, tactics, etc.
    Info and Outreach: press, media, outreach
    Affinity/solidarity Groups:, occupied wall st journal, etc.

      • Shawn Carrié

        Since the beginning, Arts & Culture WG has been highly valued as core to the occupation. We reject the current capitalist system’s assertion that art and artists are unnecessary, frivolous and merely a source of leisure. I think art is just as important as food, and are vital to occupation. When we occupy, we food food, we need shelter, we need each other, and we need stimulation, and that comes in many forms. We need arts.

        Just my opinion.

        • Walter Adler

          Im totally in agreement with you. But Im saying that its rather arbitrary whats an operational group and whats a movement group. I guess you just have to have more time to go to all the GAs. And all the spokes councils. And probably not be burdened by things like kids and a job.

      • Jordan

        Arts & Culture are operations by my reckoning as well. Design a flyer, project an image on a building, dance in the streets… all operational functions. Umbrella groups like these will definitely help, and they can always be realigned later if enough people have issues with particulars.

  8. Andrew Mallis

    I’ve read through the update proposal and tried to edit it, but am at a standstill.

    I feel like the premise is sound and the objectives are noble, but the means by which the objectives are to be reached diverges too strongly with existing power structures in OWS.

    The recognition of Operations and Groups has been the purview of the Spokes Council. The Communications Cluster appears positioned in this proposal to review groups and include or exclude them from the website. There is conflicting language, here.

    As an interim measure, I propose the following strategy:

    1. Clearly label all Groups that have been approved by the Spokes Council as “Movement”, “Operations” or “Caucus”. All other groups are unlabeled for now.

    1.1 Add additional tabs for the above designations on the group listings page

    2. Refactor the form at groups//admin/edit-details to contain additional details to promote group contact information and make some of them mandatory. Redirect group managers at next log-in to that page, or provide an onscreen notice of some kind with a link to the edit page. Email group managers with clear instructions and reasoning for requesting information updates.

    3. Automatically hide groups from the listings page that are Dormant. Groups would qualify as dormant if they fall below a threshold of activity*. A ui option to display (only) dormant groups should be added.

    * Threshold for dormancy

    A threshold for dormancy is not evident. Spam and cross-posting can be influential, so weighting comments before posts would be important, with blogs and documents even higher.

    Proposed threshold, compiled weekly: 10 points.

    1 point / new forum topic
    2 points / comment
    4 points / blog
    5 points / document

    Required fields in a Group profile that remaln empty 2 weeks past approval of these measures will automatically make a Group dormant.

  9. Walter Adler

    Solutions Cluster: Visions, Goals, Demands, Open Source and a Call to Action


    My name is Walter Adler. For the last seven weeks I have been a participant in the Demands Working Group and the Medical Group. I have only slept at Liberty for two nights and I work a full time job. I wear a brown skally cap and speak a lot. I have served as a medic at over 12 marches, attended numerous GAs, and helped form the Demands Framework Subgroup responsible for the Groups Charter and Process along with Chavisa Woods, Andy Gimma, Erik M and others. I am an NYC local and am highly invested in the success of our movement.

    Since the third meeting of the Demands Group it has been clear that a) there is a real class-culture divide working group to working group. b) many working groups are tackling the same ISSUE using different language. c) people closer to the movements center, i.e. occupiers and full time activists have more access than many of us that can only go to a couple meetings a week.

    I think that it is very important for us all to understand and accept two major developments that are going to threaten our survival as a movement.

    1) All major (physical) occupations have been crushed in an organized national campaign of police violence. This went on without major public outcry because our breakdowns in process, our youth as a movement, and OUR FAILURE TO prevent 1) rape 2) drug use and 3) public health hazards in our camps allowed a smoke screen to crush our right to assemble.

    2) This movement has NOT produced any unifying Visions & Goals, Calls to Action, or Demands that the general public can point to and say that the movement is fighting for specific obtainable goals that politicians can get behind (and get support to carry out) or be voted out of office if they reject. And that has hurt us a GREAT deal.

    I get that we are only 2 months old, I get that horizontal democracy is important. But it is vital that we come together more seriously within the NYCGA to get all of the Working Groups concerned with articulating the movements objectives. Speaking to many others we propose:

    A Solutions Cluster: A coordinating body between all working groups engaged in serious work on the movements long term objectives.

    It would initially include:
    Visions & Goals
    Think Tank
    LGBTIQA Caucus
    Open Source
    POC Working Group
    OWS in Spanish
    Call to Action
    Occupy the Polls
    This way we can get together, work together, go to the GA and Spokes Together and give the people of NYC what they have been asking for: concrete steps and objectives for the OWS movement to organize around.

    I’d like to start this conversation respectfully saying that you are all dedicated brothers and sisters often speaking very different languages of change. I hope the recent campaign of violence can be met with greater unity within our own ranks.

    Walter Adler
    Reach out to me if yer down to move forward with this cluster idea.

    • vets74

      Thank you, Walter —

      Please consider my Old Guy take on the situation. Your appreciation of these policy needs and the need for clear procedures will be critical to facilitate the Occupy movement going forward. First, a Zeroeth Law for all protest actions:

      0) Nonviolence is the key to success.

      For Americans this is the one big lesson from the Civil Rights Movement. The concept, here, traces back to 1950 and a single lecture at Crozer Theological Seminary that covered Mahatma Gandhi and turned on the light for Martin Luther King, Jr. What must prove irresistible is Gandhi’s concept of satyagraha. Satya means “truth,” which also equals love; agraha means “force.” A direct translation is truth-love-force. Dr. King and SCLC’s 1960s “Pledge of Nonviolence” needs just the least of updating to apply 100% to OWS. See below.

      Occupy, so far, has been more into paranoia. Occupy has been distracted by the very evil of the Wall Street enemies of the 99%. These enemies are thieves. They and their allies stole $7.3-trillion dollars and caused the Depression of 2008: the biggest smash-and-grab of all time. However, for my money, getting more social justice with actions in spring and summer of 2012 will rely on applying the wisdoms of peace-love-force rediscovered by Black people in the South in the 1950s and 1960s.

      1) “OUR FAILURE TO prevent 1) rape 2) drug use and 3) public health hazards” has been visible to everyone involved. We have also failed to weed out agent provocateurs (“provos”) and establish solid working relationships with police management teams. These objectives all work together.

      Fact is, police chiefs and their professional groups such as Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) place next to no priority on preventing civil disobedience actions that take the trouble to prevent injuries and avoid severe impacts on bystanders. Once we eliminated wearing masks and carrying anything that looked like weapons, NYPD was more than happy to treat OWS crowds the same as they treat pro sports crowds. “Play well with others” is a solid motto.

      Similarly, you have to realize that “anarchy” is a practical synonym with “lawlessness.” There’s plenty of crazy people in America and you have to count on a fraction of them showing up at Occupy sites and actions. It is possible that “anarchy” works with Nice Canadians. It has not worked well in New York City.

      2) “This movement has NOT produced any unifying Visions & Goals….” Equally, this movement has not generated a “Plays Well With Others” reputation.

      Joint actions and clear statements can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Establishing the simplest liaison roles is prevented by what appears to be paranoia. The “collective” and “consensus” patterns have the look and feel of passive aggression. At the point where commercial press honed in OWS, it was a journalist, Amy Goodman, who stood on the steps at the Joie de Vivre statue before microphones and defined any and all “Visions & Goals” for what became the international view of Occupy Wall Street.

      More power to Ms. Goodman. Somebody had to do it.
      – – – – – – – – – – – – –
      Master yourself, first. That gets to be a whole lot easier if you go to geniuses for help.

      We need to get better. “Fight the cops” is no way to win anything. Please consider this update to the 1960s Pledge. A multisectarian line-by-line homage from Dr. King’s SCLC pledge:

      Pledge For Nonviolence
      – – – – – – – – – – – –
      1. As you prepare to act, meditate on life and love and the blessings of faith, hope, and charity.

      2. Remember that this nonviolent movement seeks Justice and Reconciliation – not victory.

      3. Walk and talk in the manner of love; for love is the core of life, neither ambition nor the temptations of control.

      4. Pray or simply ask within to be moved so that all men and women might be free.

      5. Sacrifice personal wishes that all might be free.

      6. Observe with friends and with false friends and with your foes the ordinary rules of courtesy.

      7. Perform regular service for others and the world.

      8. Refrain from violence of fist, tongue and heart.

      9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health. We are the 99% and we must go in peace.
      – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
      Dr. King was with Southern Christian Leadership Conference. SCLC today has a mature system for doing non-violence. SCLC has proved that discipline can be leveraged to obtain the justice and the reconciliations sought with a protest movement.

      Go in peace. I walked with Dr. King and he always went in peace. My father for his part managed and racially integrated a canning plant in Florida. The stress of that struggle against the local racists took many years off his life — a heart attack in the plant in his mid-50s in 1959 killed him same day.

      For them, please everyone, for two dead men, put a mind to respecting nonviolence. “Fighting the cops” is the last thing on this earth that either man would want Occupy people to do.

      • Dallas

        All respect to Gandhi, MLK, and Satyagraha, I must respectfully beg to differ with the following concepts:

        1) that the occurrence or visibility of any imperfection is necessarily a flaw. I doubt any more sexual assault, bullying, or drug abuse happens within the Occupy or OWS community than at Goldman or any other large group or organization. We’re just honest enough to address it instead of first hiding it.

        2) That “drug use” or even drug abuse is a flaw on a par with resorting to violence before non-violent tactics. I won’t get too deep on the subject here… but let’s mind that some of us think decrim is a good idea.

      • s.t.

        Philip Glass reads the end of his opera Satyagraha at Occupy Lincoln Center:

        “When righteousness Withers away And evil Rules the land We come in to being Age, after age And take visible shape And move A man among men For the protection of good Thrusting back evil And setting virtue On her seat again.”

      • Sally G

        I agree about nonviolence being a crucial part of OWS; the movement is about legally coming together to express our grievances and petition for redress. We need to make common cause with all of the 99%; using violence will detract from attaining our goals.
        We must keep in mind what Ben Franklin said about giving up liberty for security; we must insist on exercising our liberties, but we also must demand that the government plays as nice as we do. The more Occupations are seen to be targetted without cause, especially by a federally coördinated governmental response, the stronger our case. The 1% will not concede quickly or easily, we are at the beginning of a long fight, with great rewards at the end. We must continue to show the hypocrisy of the establishment.
        The recent S 1867 seems to me to be directed at Occupiers, though they say it relates to Guantánamo; the more that the dangers of such unconstitutional laws are made clear, the stronger our case for redress of grievances will be.

    • Shawn Carrié

      You said some good things, and some things that I disagree with, too.

      I feel like ideas like this come up all the time. I feel that proposing “Supergroups” to solve all our major problems are not going to be effective. If OWS has a homelessness/drug use/rape problem, it’s because AMERICA has a homelessness/drug use/rape problem. We are not going to solve human vice here at OWS, no matter how hard we try. Let’s stay focused on what we came to do, and address those issues on a level of individual responsibility.

      Large solutions clusters are also, in my opinion, partially ineffective because it’s unenforceable to get people to attend from all these groups. Horizontality means that each individual decides according their life and schedule what meetings they can go to – and we’re all overloaded. It’s rEally hard to commit to more meetings. Working Groups work and stay together because you build a relationship with those people. I like knowing that I can depend on a WG meeting being the same time, familiar faces, and a continuity of projects we’re working on, and it’s much easier to plug in that way. It’d be so hard to come to a huge supercluster meeting and find way to activate personal agency-and if you miss one meeting you’re going to be way behind. So I’m question the ultimate end effectiveness of such a structure.

    • Eric Arthur

      As an old Hippie/Yippee I have been watching this movement dilute their resources. I’ve added discussions on the Occupy site as Old_Hippie_Tips. As a medic, you think and act in the now. Triage is Action Now. A committee or aka Working Group will meet regularly to determine the best location and authorization of medical supplies. Committees have always polished turds. There are so many working groups and they schedule meeting that conflict with marches. “This is what too much democracy looks like”. In defense of these political science polishers and committee organizers, they don’t really any skill sets to offer the movement. I remember watching a GA spend an hour trying to approve $40.00 for camp laundry and trying to allocate subway fares for those now sleeping on the trains. The GA’s aren’t horizontal but that is not a surprise.
      I warned about security and policing as a pitfall and encouraged inviting military men and women into the movement. They already have training and acute awareness of their surroundings. It would also be powerful to see them in uniform shoulder to shoulder with others on police lines. This movement need more back and less head. The barn in Occupy DC was excellent flash mob action, but too much energy was spent by the protesters making the police look stupid and as a result lost access to their camp.

      The peoples mic is brilliant, but the verbal abuse of the police is violent action. With Ustream streaming live video it picks up these outbursts loud and clear.
      Black bloc members are not hard to spot. Don’t let them mingle, run them off.
      Locking arms awaiting arrest had it’s place and time. Inside those riot costumes are men that are in the greatest shape physically. Don’t let them stand around… keep them always on the move. There is no value to being arrested. Simple strategy and tactics are lagging and viewed by some to a sign of weakness. Less arrests will encourage more people to join in.
      Main Goal is defeat your enemy which are the corporations and not the government.

      Walter, I support your positions and to let you know there are others that share your disappointment .
      I can’t even get a respose on the official email.

      • Monica McLaughlin

        I agree. I was utterly shocked at just how huge a bureaucracy had sprung up in such an incredibly short period of time. So many meetings and committees. All indoors and on laptops.

        • Dallas

          You don’t seem to mind using the fruits of the offices and laptops.

          If everyone wants office space and internet access through the GA and OWS let’s work constructively toward that goal. If you don’t find these things necessary or desirable in order to contribute what you want to bring to the movement, fine, suit yourself. But must there be constant sniping at those who feel that they are better able to help the movement, help OWS, help *us*, help *the world* from a computer at a desk than from the street with a placard or the park with a tray of food?

  10. Walter Adler

    I’m just gonna keep posting this until someone tells me why in the world there are so many working groups that think they can make statements for the whole occupation without ever really talking to each other. All I want to keep reminding people is that people with jobs, people with kids and non activists are finding it hard to attend GAs and spokes.

    • vets74

      You define “anarchy” ??? Every “working group” declares sovereignty. Every Occupy site declares sovereignty. Every individual wearing a Guy Fawkes mask declares sovereignty.

      (Hint: it’s who you know…. But we all knew that from nursery school.)

    • Jordan

      Right On Walter. We gotta make this more efficient, and an organic structure, as noble as it seems, gets a bit unwieldly. Let’s impose some good old-fashioned Dewey Decimal/General Ledger style structure here. We guys/gals with families and jobs gotta find things fast so we don’t waste time.

  11. Walter Adler

    It’s not an issue of too many working groups, its an issue of too many not talking together or respecting the process.

  12. Rick Theis

    Good plan moving forward, but VERY unfair to make it retroactive to working groups like “Restore Democracy” that filed late October/early November and were repeatedly passed over by other groups that filed much later and yet were added to

  13. BradB

    also… why not let the groups pick which channel they want to be listed under?… that will also help them focus on there purpose

  14. BradB

    as far as similar ideas being discussed in different groups is an asset… it invites new ideas to surface that might otherwise be washed over based on the momentum of the current concepts …. eventually in the discussions, mentions/links to the other similar ideas will surface….

    • Sally G

      This makes sense if there is a way for the groups to cross-pollinate; would be best if it were semiorganized, but not rigidly.

  15. Ken Vallario

    Create Blog format for each group…

    this way every member could post dynamic post, with title,images, video, whatever would serve the proposition…

    then each post’s comment section could work as discussion area…

    this would allow for direct participation, and tracking of personal interests…

    then you could have a Digital General Assembly regularly to define the spokes within each work group…

    just an idea…i belong to a few groups, but i find it difficult to feel involved…

    • Shawn Carrié

      Groups already have this functionality, if you use the “Activity” tab.

      • Ken Vallario

        yes, of course you are right…there is just something about the structure of this site, that is a bit overly complicated…this is not a critique, as i am so grateful to all the work being done, but a response to the above statement…the complexity tends to make one feel less able to contribute in a focused way…i’ve seen some wordpress blogs where members of the group can all post very dynamic blog posts, and the discussions can radiate from there, and the blog feed is a bit more central…if each group had one of these instead of ‘activity’ ‘blog’ and ‘forum’ then it would feel more centralized and focused, and this would nurture greater partcipation and focus…sometimes too much functionality can be a hindrance…the main nycga homepage functions wonderfully, but once you are ready to ‘dig in’ to a group, it ought to feel a bit more focused and serene…these are just one person’s opinion, just trying to respond to the call for ideas and experience…

  16. vets74

    International and other U.S. Groups — why not ? Think of it as having online “embassy” setups for all them foreigners. It’s not what the site was “designed for,” but that shouldn’t matter. There’s very good up-side to this.

    The site manager still has control of which Groups survive. It’s not like we’re doomed to seeing 666 new Groups devoted to real- and faux-RonPaul noise makers.

    Non-local groups: This site was designed to serve the occupation on the ground at Liberty Plaza and Wall Street. It was not designed to be a central hub for any group involved in the global movement. The groups represented on the site, therefore, should be working actively, on the ground with the OWS occupation. For many of the current groups, this is not the case.

    Not to be willfully contrary, but seeing this site turn into a “central hub” would be wonderful. We’re only posting text – not images or streams – so there’s minimal burden on the web server.

    Ride herd on who gets in, but otherwise let freedom ring !!

    • Shawn Carrié

      I disagree – this website is for the NYC GA.

      OWS is not the mothership of the movement. OWS is not the central power. This website is made for and by the people of OWS and its Working Groups. Anyone anywhere is free to sign up and contribute and learn from the conversations happening on our forums, but I don’t think this site is the right place for interoccupation discussion – there are other sites for that. There’s InterOccupy, there’s OccupyTogether, and Federated GA is on its way.

      • Darrell Prince

        ennh…. that’s a little debatable… without understanding what all the other occupies are doing, it is tough to say… but this as far as I know the biggest and most complex, and all of the others are offshoots… I don’t think OWS should consider itself king, but the world also knows the movement as”OWS” not as occupy…. it would and should be a leader if not the final authority. We need more communication between groups

  17. JZ

    Commenting closed at 1pm Thursday? I just read about this close to 5pm. Excessively narrow time windows, lack of inter-group communication, and lack of reasonable time frames for updates on events/marches is getting serious.

    Group fragmentation has been an issue for weeks and I’m happy to see that there will be more focus on that. And I’m also glad that there is an initiative to have weekly meetings that include multiple group participants to provide updates to each other (info-sharing). None of us can know everything that is going on but I think further development of information-sharing is one of the most important aspects to this movement.

    • s.t.

      “Excessively narrow time windows,” again we agree JZ, especially when the date of the post (as noted above) was the day before on weds 11/30. please excuse the snark, but even the frickin MTA has more reasonable public comment periods.

      also, applause warranted for addressing the issue, but in the response, we must be very cautious not to diminish one of our core strengths : decentralization. better communication would be helpful, but more centralization and classification would not.

      • Dallas

        Seriously, with all due respect, I think those that just *have* to have strong centralized leadership and everything hypersimplified might be better off just doing their own projects and getting in where they fit in. People seem to forget that unless issuing a public statement in the name of OWS or asking for funding, you really don’t need anyone else’s direction or permission to contribute as you see fit on a schedule that works for you.

        Chris (the guy with the STOCK Act proposal at the end of Saturday’s GA) had this nailed. He couldn’t get connected with the WGs he thought were appropriate to assist with his proposal, so he came to GA with something he put together mostly on his own, and LO! found a working group chomping at the bit to help him revise and finalize for re-proposal.

        Learn from Chris’ example.

  18. Andrew Mallis

    Hello all.

    Here is the revised proposal, as it currently stands:

    The refactoring of the initial proposal drafted by the Communications Cluster was conducted by Lippe, myself and Jake. It was brought back to this group, where it was amended and generally consensed upon.

    • s.t.

      excellent work Andrew, much improved & streamlined from the last version.

      question: isn’t there also an “approved category” from SC called “Movement”? if so, then why not label those groups that currently occupy that category as such on the site?

      • Andrew Mallis

        @s.t. You are right. I read through version 4 last night of structure’s document and added Movement.

      • Jake

        @stristero so, the thing about movement groups is, they used to be there but i deleted them from that sentence because there is no such thing as a group approved by the Spokes Council as a Movement Group. The idea of a movement group IS established in the SC proposal, but the SC itself has not authority over which groups are or are not movement groups. In fact, at this point, there is NO process for being defined or ratified as a movement group, AFAIK

  19. Darrell Prince

    sorry for the length of this.. but parts of it I feel address some of the issues that are being dealt with… specifically dormancy… it’s also a proposal that that obligates tech ops.. The OWS Tranparency and Accountability Act:
    (a living document to be amended specifically as needed)
    Transparency is one of the principles of solidarity in the NYCGA, and a recognized key ingredient to any democracy(insert a quote maybe?) As such, it is our proposal that any working groups, in order to be considered active participants, must submit long term and weekly goals, current projects, resource usage and needs at least monthly, and weekly progress reports in a standard, short form, (less than a paragraph, probably 300 characters or so) for each goal. These should be completed on the same day, each week, and audit trails be assigned to this document, so any changes can be tracked. More than a full weeks absence in reporting will result in a mandatory GA reportback, and suspension of financial budget allocations, two weeks will be suspension of all facility access for group members..

    For Finance, the first but not last operational group to have a specific ask for the types of reporting that are done:

    Expenditures(money allocated per group)
    Revenues (weekly, and average daily)
    Budget/ad hoc spending ratio
    Unreturned receipt reports

    Detailed expenditure report drill down
    Month to month comparisons and analysis
    Signer updates
    a word from our sponsor(fiscal)

    Step by step audit review/tutorial as part of the monthly report

    All GA

    Tech ops must provide a forum for displaying this reporting in a way that allows for easy viewing of all working group reports.

    The deadline for providing the first weekly report, for finance is December 10th.

    Honestly, it’s not that hard to produce. add up all the day’s disbursements and you have daily expenditures.

    You can do a reconcile for the change on the weekly report, and also include the names of any people with receipts outstanding for more than 24 hours… it’s a very mild rebuke…
    If your name is on the report on consecutive weeks you cannot receive disbursments for two weeks.

    Currently, for revenue just record the difference in the online donations every day at the same time to get the day’s income. When the buckets go back out a Liberty Plaza it will become more work, but should be manageable with a good staff size.

    reconcile the change from the disbursments in weekly report

  20. Inoshi

    Thank you for investing your time on this journey for us and suggesting relevant and useful changes.

  21. odd ah

    Regarding accountability and legitimizing WGS>I think every work group should submit to both finance and perhaps post online; a completed expenditure spreadsheet and jpg images of receipts of how their $100 honorarium is used, and or any $$$ received via proposals. This will help with transparency and accountability. The following url is reposted from another post> Free tools to help you organize finances:
    Additionally, (please dont hate me for this) I personally feel that work groups should only receive the $100 on a ‘proven needs basis’ and it should not be for every time that they meet unless they are paying mta cards for regular participants or supplying snacks,materials, pens…$100, it just seems excessive.
    As for redundant groups, suggest consolidation, and if the group is inactive, or not meeting…I know its ultimately up to the GA, but I say Delete

  22. Andrew Mallis

    Today’s Tech Ops meeting [ minutes: ] reached consensus on re-activating group creation on . In addition, groups, as approved by Spokes as “Operations” and “Caucus” Groups will be labelled and searchable as such.

    Additionally, we will be issuing a statement explaining ourselves and saying sorry to the community for the outage, and its outcomes.

    Please take a look at the explanation letter and feed back before we post it:

  23. Camille Raneem

    I’ve been unable to access the doc so i’ll put in my 2 cents here…

    Since we no longer have a park to operate, radical restructuring is necessary. The categories are a valuable addition to organization, but it needs to be coupled with expansion. So perhaps facilitation should consider encouraging additional spokes councils made up of similar groups. So movement groups should have their own spokes meeting for example. This way there is cohesion between similar groups and they can pool their resources and aide each other in projects.

    Also, we need to consider restructuring GA. Like having the Saturday one for all NYC GA’s to report back and we can all work together that way and focus on building the movement.

    I realize tech doesn’t handle this but i don’t really know who to talk to about this. But we need to move beyond our limited process and create something that can change the entire structure of NYC politics and policy.

  24. Walter Adler

    Here’s what were working with:

    Brothers and Sisters,

    Thank you all in Demands WG for endorsing the Solutions Cluster proposal. For all of you participating in the initiative here are the main meetings/ WGSs listed we’d like to invite to a sit down, ideally this Sunday coming at 4pm (subject to change.) @ Zuccotti Park.

    There are three things we’d like each of you to stress at the other meetings you attend.

    1. Solutions Cluster is to be a Spokes Cluster, as well as a clearing house and frame work by which collective statements coming out of the NYCGA can be worked on efficiently by all involved.

    2. The immediate objective of the Solutions Cluster is to involve more of our city in the OWS movement via the production of a platform (just for the NYCGA) articulating visions, goals, demands, calls to action that can address local grievances & take objective poltical stands on relevant issues.

    3. You can identify that demands group has a 1. Jobs for All Demand, 2. A Corporate Personhood Demand, a 3. Money out of Poltics Demand (campaign finance) a 4. Reinstate Glass Steigel Demand, and many others. PLEASE STRESS WE ARE NOT LOOKING TO START A SOLUTIONS CLUSTER JUST TO GET DEMANDS ENDORSEMENTS. We want all interested WGS seated at the table with a fluid, Democratic process that can articulate positions for the NYCGA.

    We’d like anyone who attends a wg meeting to text/ call Adler at 347 907 3182 to check in. We’d like anyone who succeeds in getting a working group to send delegates to send those delegates to Zuccotti, this sunday at 4pm to have the first round of negotiations (MEETING AT 4PM SHARP, under RED STRUCTURE). Please go to these meetings humbly and respectfully. This is about inclusion. This is also about other groups seeing how diverse and how local Demands group composition is.

    Here are the most relevent meetings and their times. (PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT WAS THE OUTCOME.) (Also please post your findings to this list).
    I think it we all know it now time to try smoething new. So now it’s time we get organized.

    Vision and Goals
    Everyone is welcome! We meet at The Atrium @ 60 Wall Street at the following times:
    SUNDAYS: 12:00-3:00pm (Consensus Day)
    WEDNESDAYS: 5:30pm-7:00pm (Consensus Day)
    THURSDAYS: 5:30pm-7:00pm (Consensus […]

    FLO Movement (Open source)
    Public Group active 1 day, 21 hours ago
    The Free/Libre/Open-source (FLO) Solutions Workgroup is focused on promoting open source technologies as a transformative politic – open source is the creation of shared value in the global means. We work in […]
    The Free/Libre/Open-source (FLO) Solutions Workgroup is focused on promoting open source technologies as a transformative politic – open source is the creation of shared value in the global means. We work in partnership with Tech Ops to help to meet the requirements of OWS through open source technology, culture and innovation.
    Mailing list can be joined here:
    Technology wiki:

    Workgroup contact info: Ted Schulman, 212-217-9669, & Devin Balkind, 917-748-1048,
    Workgroup meets Monday – Friday 3:00 at Charlotte’s Place (public work space), 109 Greenwich Street / near Rector Street
    Mailing List

    Call to Action
    This is a group responsible for drafting the Call to Action statement known as the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.
    We draft public statements for the General Assembly. Everything we do must go through the consensus process before being distributed into the world. We meet at irregular times, and are in the process of transferring over setting up meetings from Gmail to the NYC GA website in order to be more transparent. Feel free to join us at any time.

    Think Tank
    Through open and facilitated discussion groups, idea boxes, community outreach and online activity, we aim to stimulate, generate, distribute and analyze ideas emerging from the global movement. This will result in a collection of data about the movement as it has evolved, expanded and taken shape. This data will be made openly available in a variety of media, as well as policy options, journal publications, sources for academic research, and so on.
    Also, be sure to ‘Like’ our Facebook page for daily updates:

    1:00pm – 6:00pmLiberty Plaza
    Between Media and the Kitchen
    Think Tank Think Tank Discussion
    Work Session
    From 2011-10-10 to 2012-10-10, everyday
    1:00pm – 6:00pmLiberty Plaza
    Between Media and the Kitchen
    Think Tank Think Tank Discussion
    Work Session
    From 2011-10-10 to 2012-10-10, everyday
    Think Tank Discussion
    1:00 PM
    Liberty Plaza
    Between Media and the Kitchen

    Political Action & Impact
    The Political Action & Impact group is to leverage Politics into pro action for respective communities in the form of educating the public and direct action, holding our local politicians and their appointees accountable for what is going on whether it be gathering 300+ constituents and meet a politician at his office or get a few politicians who really want to help to support our cause to understand what it is that we are fighting for. While most want to change the system, I’m hoping we can change the political landscape and get the right people in office. It will take years to change this broken system but until that happens we have to make this work some how to the advantage of all people most of whom don’t have a clue on what the issues are (i.e. eliminating Citizens Untied or the halting of outside funding from a local level). All inquiries and suggestions can also be sent to:

    Weekly Workgroup Meeting
    Map UnavailableDate/Time
    Date(s) – 8 Dec 2011
    6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    60 Wall Street
    The Atrium, by the waterfall
    People of Color Working Group
    Public Group active 1 day, 21 hours ago
    The role of the POC working group at OWS to bring in/provide a supportive and empowering space for people of color and to bring people of color and a racial justice lens to the leadership of this movement. In […]
    The role of the POC working group at OWS to bring in/provide a supportive and empowering space for people of color and to bring people of color and a racial justice lens to the leadership of this movement. In general the POC WG at OWS does these two things:
    1. bring in and provide a supportive and empowering space for people of
    color in the movement; and
    2. bring people of color and a racial justice lens to the leadership of this
    The POC WG has consensed to also function as a People of Color Caucus wherein, thrugh participation in POC WG subcommittees, members will in turn participative in the working groups of the broader OWS movement. Each subcommittee of the POC WG corresponds to a larger OWS working group and the members of each subcommittee attend meetings for and participate in the corresponding OWS working group. By doing so we bring our voices to the forefront of the movement.
    Each subcommittee currently has a rotating point person who is responsible for bringing together the subcommittee, reporting back at meetings, and bottom lining communication within the subcommittee and between subcommittees. The point person is required to rotate every month, ensuring collective leadership, increased participation and transparency.
    Read our call out to people of color here:

    WOW (Women Occupying Wall Street)
    WOW stands for Women Occupying Wall Street. This is the group for the Women\\\’s Caucus of OWS.
    WOW exists to create a safe space for the empowerment of female-bodied and/or female-identified individuals, for community awareness, and for collective action on the issues that affect women most. The issues that affect women affect all of society.

    Mailing List

    Best of luck. Ideally this sit down can occur formally next SUNDAY @ 4pm in Zuccotti Park. Please try and acquire specific delegates from each group empowered to sit and hash out the Solutiosn Cluster.

    Thank you all for you work on this project.

    Walter Adler
    347 907 3182
    Demands/ Medical

  25. joeaguy

    Please keep a few things in mind with these proposals:

    – Not everyone has reliable access to computers. There are many homeless and poor people in this movement who contribute a lot, and we need to be sure they are able to access any process or record keeping that is needed so they are not excluded from taking action in a responsible manner.

    – Internet access while meeting at Liberty Square, 60 Wall St, etc, can be hard to come by. This is where groups meet and get a lot of real work done.

    – Its still not quite clear to everyone how to make use of the office space. This space can help us solve these two issues, but only if people know how to use it.

    – OWS is starting to generate a large amount of internal bureaucracy. Couple this with communication problems and problems of just knowing where to go and whom to talk to, it can be frustrating for working groups trying to figure out how to navigate the process.

    – I agree with the spirit of this proposal, but the wording is wordy and heavy handed. Any such proposals for requirements need to be worded to make the benefit to those following the process clear. I think instead of all these HR terms like “self-assessment” and “review”, what we really are doing is compiling a “directory listing” of groups. Groups need to be responsible for keeping their directory listing up to date, or they will be de-listed. The directory listing should serve to let people know how to get in touch with a group, and so helps build their membership. The way everything is worded right now, it feels like a bunch of roadblocks to limit the number of groups, instead of the more positive goal of helping groups grow, be clearly defined, and to prevent duplication of effort.

    • Justin Stone-Diaz

      There is something I need you all to ponder: We have two Seperate Models: Micro & Macro.

      All this rabble rousing by the 60 Wall Street Movement Macro folks needs to simmer.

      If you had been in the park with us from the start (I mean AT #LS) and spent ANY time there you
      would understand the BIGGEST issue facing our community is the #DigitalDivide.

      You DO NOT have the right to police other sections of the site unless that is
      YOUR PHYSICAL working group & EVEN suggest taking away the tools
      that other have been given just because it does not fit your pretty Post #EvictNacht fantasy.

      The fact the Working Groups have meetings at 60 Wall Street is funny.

      We ONLY got that space when Liberty Square became too crowded with tents.

      So when you all going to come back to the Plaza.

      You sure do attend ALOT of meetings yet I don’t see you in the Park.

      (You being the finger pointers trying to manipulate things to gain control over our INTRANET)

      I agree with the proposal as well & am supporting it-

      Yet I need to remind you:
      Macro=Warm Meeting Spaces

      So the park is clear, we have rain gear in SiS-


      • Dallas

        Here’s something I just want to leave here for a temp check: Cost of providing cheap netbooks/outdated 3G devices vs. Metrocards? If you had to choose between physical access and digital access, which one do you think goes farther towards making sure the poorest among us are not marginalized and disenfranchised?

  26. Daryl Atamanyk

    An extract from a post of mine in another forum:

    “Lastly…although in fact firstly: LOVE IS STRONGER…than anything they can throw at us…

    “Peace! Call not to arms…and run not amok in the streets… It’s self-defeating.


    “They welcomed the homeless, cared for the poor and the sick, the mentally “possessed” (in those days): today we have addicts who need a hand up to return to the land of the living. And all of the rest in that vein that you already know.

    “Already you know: LOVE IS STRONGER. Run not amok….

    “Me? I am alone, politically unaffiliated [religiously affiliated, yes: Roman Catholic], reclusive and sometimes a hermit. Be not afraid: I bring good news. Love is stronger.

    “Thus, the simplest strategy: none simpler. None more noble. None more worthy for us.

    ” ‘…could be called branding…’ “

  27. Daryl Atamanyk

    Who wants to help a few us to organize engineering students throughout the United States [there being 319 engineer schools in the US] to accept as a personal challenge the task of cooperatively creating a thousand teams of four or five students each; each team of which would prefabricate a most excellent, team-individually created example of a self-sustaining Huckleberry Finn raft.

    Goal: a thousand teams appearing of a sudden at exactly the same time on the shores of the Potomac River in and around DC, assembling a thousand rafts that set sail in under twenty minutes with a paddling crew of four.

    Destination: the Potomac River Tidal Basin adjacent to the Jefferson Memorial [see picture in Wikipedia].
    Flotilla unstoppable…invincible! …in spring of 2012.

    Johnny Depp dressed in pirates gear leading the charge would have Hunter S. Thompson rise from his grave to applaud with Jefferson himself!

    …the above in conjunction with a thousand initiatives bringing people to DC this spring in numbers petrifyingly poignant.

    1000 x 5 = 5000 5000 x 1000 = 5,000,000

    Do you really need to ask any longer what our next step should be???

  28. Shawn Carrié

    See, I feel that this is a perfect example of a redundant group. Why form a totally new working group to address transparency? That’s the opposite of transparency, because it doesn’t address any issues in other groups where more transparency is needed. We can meet and sit around and discuss how to deal with it, but this is only going to be effective if it addresses the problem where it lives.

    If you feel there’s an issue with transparency with Legal, join the Legal WG and say I’d like to help you guys be more transparent! If you want to help Finance with its transparency, join Finance! Work together, not separately!

  29. odd ah

    Monica McLaughlin said>>I have activated the “Accounting & Transparency” working group, a group which never had an active administrator. I am very involved in the transparency issue and would like to become administrator of this group.<<With all due respect- I think the admin of this group should be someone who has actually spent face time, lots of face time working and connecting within the ‘real time’ ows…..Odd

  30. NWwaterboy

    Interesting idea, but would be concerned that it would grow into an even more restrictive power base. While a good idea in theory, I am not sure this would be a good idea in practice. Accountability and transparency are very subjective terms.

  31. Lopi

    In my opinion it was a big mistake to allow a new group to form to regulate the working groups. It is not a good idea to have an Accountability and Transparency working group. The premise of the notion that we need a working group to police other working groups activities is based on an old paradigm that we need to be regulated by outside forces. We have the power to join groups if we think they need help being transparent. We don’t need a cop working group to go around and tell people they are being audited.

    Also, I have observed this individual, who created this group, posting slanderous, divisive, accusatory, suspicious, insulting, insinuating posts for the last couple months.

    The health of the movement is at stake here. It is being over run by trolls, bullies, infiltrators, agitators, undercover cops and the mentally ill.

    This working group just gives a voice to divisional tactics which may be coming from the government.

    How about someone form a working group to create back ground checks for people who are trying to tear us apart?

  32. Darrell Prince

    no, you would want a seperate auditing group to ensure transparency. One, transparency is not limited to financial by any stretch of the imagination. Two, having outsiders audit and review practices gives a different perspective and allows groups which move to think similarly and in sync ( a very good thing to a point, and a very bad thing out past that point, especially without trasperancy and review)

  33. s.t.

    there is a valid reason why there exist independent auditing & review bodies outside of individual departments that require auditing & review. ever see Serpico?

  34. Monica McLaughlin

    The Transparency WG must be separate from other WGs. If it were not, then you would have a group policing itself.

  35. Dallas

    This is the most basic aspect of making #OWS current structure work, and yet I find myself having to repeat it all the time online and on the ground @ Liberty Plaza. +1 @shawn.

  36. Walter Adler

    This isnt about demands. This is that the genral public wants us to have a platform, something immediate. Its not as if we are deamnding thinking demands will be answered with action. We are simply advancing a process that many many peole in this city are calling for. Localized NYCGA demands.

    It doesnt matter what they are. But right now we dont have any. Not even one.

  37. Katie

    From what I know, there are no groups abusing the weekly stipend. There are a few requirements that a group must fulfill to get that funding as well. They must be on the website, have a regular meeting time and place, be open for people to join, and more than one member. People seem to have been honest and self-regulatory.

  38. Sam Redman

    Hi Lopi,

    Monica McLaughlin is a well-known activist (in some ways like you). My guess is that you might actually become fast friends if you got to know her. You both are about the same age and have a similar dedication to the principles of OWS. My guess is that a good personal conversation might end up with you two working together once you find your common ground. Lopi, I was very impressed with your work in Haiti and on your other projects, so I know that you are a person with considerable depth of character. So, I know that you would be able to see the altruistic qualities in Monica with just a tiny effort on your part.

    Here is a NYtimes article describing Monica’s work concerning fighting an unscrupulous landlord:

    Like the article says (and she has posted this info several times in her posts) she is a New York attorney. Just Google her name. She is quite open with her personal information and even publishes her office/apartment address online. Yes, she is a fighter, but maybe not as evil as you imagine.

  39. Monica McLaughlin

    Thank you, Sam. The fight to save the apartment building continues. The owners, the Stahl Organization, are most certainly in the 1%. And the NY Landmarks Preservation Commission — who decides — is run by Robert Tierney, a close friend of and appointed by Bloomberg. Tierney, like Cathy Black, has no prior experience in this field.

  40. Monica McLaughlin

    There should not be a single Admin to the WG. You should become and Admin, add ah. And find others who believe in transparency to apply also. I am not sure who you ask.. Right now the admin is a lady named Patricia L. Maybe you ask her.