Proposal for Thursday 12/22 General Assembly: Proposal from Yoni

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

Proposer: Yoni Miller

Contact info: futuresenator2030@gmail.com

Proposal Regarding this Person.

I am making this proposal because it the last resort. Facilitation has been discussing this for a while, and no viable solutions came out. More specifically, none of the members of Facilitation are making any efforts to stand for what we are for. I respect their commitment to neutrality, and thus am bringing this up myself.

! There is one person here, who is extremely disruptive, and from what Iʼve personally witnessed, GA after GA over the past two months, has done NOTHING but block and disrupt every single General Assembly. This person Nan, claims to represent the voices of the oppressed, and perhaps she does, but she also represents the voice of tyranny and selfishness. The very things that we Occupiers are FIGHTING against. I have nothing personal against Nan, and Iʼm sure sheʼs a wonderful person at heart, but speaking from an objective point of view: Sheʼs very detrimental to the health of our GA and its members. Quiet a few members have left and never came back, because of this person.

! This proposal is not here to make any judgments on Nanʼs character or goodwill, but rather it explicitly states that Nanʼs past actions in the past 2 months are unsustainable and inappropriate as to what OWS stands for. Disruption, dictatorship and obstruction of our Democratic process is about everything that this movement is fighting against, and it cannot be practiced here in this very general assembly. I am willing to give Nan ONE more chance, for the sake of fairness, to still be a part of OWS. If she is disruptive and specifically makes one more facetious block or instructs one of her peers whether to Block or not, then she and all other members involved, shall be banned, by consensus or more likely: Modified consensus, by the General Assembly.

I accept the consequences and backlashes of this proposal, and feel free to lambast me, because I am a white privileged male, and while that says NOTHING about the kind of poverty I lived in, you are free to make assumptions about me, because Iʼve heard this excuse being used over and over, and you are welcome to use it again, but I will not let it tyrannize my life or this process.

I am absolutely open to friendly amendments and concerns, because what Nan has repeatedly done in excessive force is just unacceptable, and SOMETHING needs to be done about it.


135 Responses to “Proposal for Thursday 12/22 General Assembly: Proposal from Yoni”

  1. Yoni Miller

    Hello, I am Yoni Miller and made some slight tweaks, feel free to tell me if you think I should change any bits in my newer version, or perhaps stick with the older version?

    I am making this proposal because it the last resort. Facilitation has been discussing this for a while, and no viable solutions came out. More specifically, none of the members of Facilitation are making any efforts to stand for what we are for. I respect their commitment to neutrality, and thus am bringing this up myself.

    There is one person here, who is extremely disruptive, and from what I’ve personally witnessed, GA after GA over the past two months, has done NOTHING but block and disrupt every single General Assembly. This person Nan, claims to represent the voices of the oppressed, and perhaps she does, but she also represents the voice of tyranny and selfishness. The very things that we Occupiers are FIGHTING against. I have nothing personal against Nan, and I’m sure she’s a wonderful person at heart, but speaking from an objective point of view: She’s very detrimental to the health of our GA and its members. Quiet a few members have left and never came back, because of this person.

    This proposal is not here to make any judgments on Nan’s character or goodwill, but rather it explicitly states that Nan’s past actions in the past 2 months are unsustainable and inappropriate as to what OWS stands for. Disruption, dictatorship and obstruction of our Democratic process is about everything that this movement is fighting against, and it cannot be practiced here in this very general assembly. I am willing to give Nan ONE more chance, for the sake of fairness, to still be a part of OWS. If she is disruptive and specifically makes one more facetious block or instructs one of her peers whether to Block or not, then she and all other members involved, shall be banned, by consensus or more likely: Modified consensus, by the General Assembly.

    I accept the consequences and backlashes of this proposal, and feel free to lambast me, because I am a white privileged male, and while that says NOTHING about the kind of poverty I lived in, you are free to make assumptions about me, because I’ve heard this excuse being used over and over, and you are welcome to use it again, but I will not let it tyrannize my life or this process.

    I am absolutely open to friendly amendments and concerns, because what Nan has repeatedly done in excessive force is just unacceptable, and SOMETHING needs to be done about it.

  2. Agi

    I follow GA and SC on livetweet and livestream, so I am familiar with the situation. I am curious to know if proposer (or anyone in Facilitation) has had one-on-one conversation with Nan about the disruptive behavior — specifically, to find understanding of behavior and convey its effect on others — and what, if anything, happened as a result of the conversation.

    • Lopi

      she simply tells anyone who approaches her on the subject to fuck off. if you insist, she threatens to beat you up

    • Ally

      I have had and seen Nan have many reasonable rational conversations… People simply dismiss her because it’s easy to fall into the scary black woman stereotype. This is garbage and will be blocked. I have seen many disruptive people who no one says about because they are a) white and b) disrupt quietly and politely…

      • Yoni Miller

        I know I am not consciously doing this out of racism, but I am introspecting within myself, AM I doing this out of racism, and as you specifically said, am I unfairly targeting Nan, just because she’s a “scary black woman”.

        If someone is disrupting quietly or politely (that sounds oxymoronic, so please expand what that means?) does that not mean they are not hijacking the entire process?

        I have spoken to several women who are People of Color, and they agreed with me, that this was a necessary and good proposal. My email is posted, and you can message me on NYCGA, email, or comment here.

        I am taking this matter of myself potentially being racist, very serious, because it is something I do not want, and I am very aware, that racism proliferates in most white people’s minds.

        Would this proposal be viewed the same way, if a female black woman read this and proposed this instead? Many people I spoke to, agreed this was necessary, however none of them have the guts to say this out aloud, and so I am taking a stand on this, for all of my sisters and brothers in OWS. That said, I absolutely encourage you to bring those concerns out there, publicly for everyone to hear, when I propose this, because those are EXTREMELY important points and conversations to be had.

      • quinn

        Just curious, how does someone disrupt quietly and politely? I would like to try that.

        • Tom Gillis

          think “derail” instead of “disrupt” – when people make out-of-process statements from a position of privilege, other people are more likely to defer to them speaking, and at least hear what they’re saying before deciding its out of process.
          I’ve seen this at OWS with older white men who are the boss in whatever professional background they come from – they show up at meetings and expect that they can give direct responses to whatever anybody else is saying because that’s how they behave at work. Alot of us, coming from professional backgrounds, are accustomed to deferring to that kind of behavior, and may even see it as “okay” because we’re implicitly agreeing w/ that person’s privilege.

    • StefanoBlack

      Agi-

      Please note I am voicing no opinion on this proposal whatsoever.

      In response strictly to your question, I can state factually that I have sat in personal discussion with Nan and other members of her close circle for many hours on end. I did this as a curious individual, NOT as any kind of representative for Facilitation, of which I happen to be a frequent participating member.

      I would also add, factually and neutrally, that others from Facilitation have done so as well. I have personally witnessed Leo engaging with Nan in just such a calm, honest private discussion, and I have heard others recount their personal efforts in a similar vein.

      As my last factual Point Of Information, I would add that Nan has personally attended Facilitation WG meetings at least one or two times that I have personally witnessed and participated in. The regularly-attending members of Facilitation WG are all directly, personally familiar with Nan.

      The point of all this is: yes. Members of Facilitation WG, and orhers in the community who vocally take issue with her conduct, have interacted with her on a direct, one-to-one or small-group basis, countless times and under diverse circumstances.

      Full Disclosure: I would consider Nan as a friendly personal acquaintance as a direct result of my conversations with her. I have also co-facilitated Assemblies in which she participated, including some contentious situations. Lastly, I have raised conversations with Facilitation and individual members of it alike, in support of arguments Nan has voiced to me regarding intra-OWS racism/classism/sexism issues and community trust-building – and I have *also* raised such conversations in support of stricter conduct-related accountability measures for participants in the General Assembly, and in support of bolstering a process with a well-precedented means of empowering the GA to question the legitimacy of blocks (a consensus practice explicitly recommended by C.T. Butler and currently in use in at least one other major Occupation).

      In solidarity,

      Stefano

  3. liza

    HOW THE FUCK DID FACILITATION ALLOW THIS TO BE AN ACTUAL PROPOSAL?!?!? THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! You can’t target people. You need to focus on the destructive actions that could be done by ANYONE regardless of who they are.

    and a white guy? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!

    this has to be stricken from the agenda NOW.

    • Sean McKeown

      Liza,

      Facilitation renders no judgments on the validity of a proposal. We might wish they did, but literally anything can get on the agenda so long as it meets the requirements of 24 hour advanced notice. “I like fluffy bunnies” is a valid proposal by this criteria, and thus even something that should be immediately troubling is not within Facilitation’s power to remove from the agenda.

      • liza

        not good enough. sorry. that could work in a world where your privilege goes unchecked but FACILITATION as the gatekeeper of proposals needs to make sure the commitment to ANTI-OPPRESSION AND ANTI-RACISM is followed TO THE TEE when it comes to the proposals they allow on the floor.

        this has to be taken down and written TOP TO BOTTOM. if you want to deal with DISRUPTIVE & DESTRUCTIVE TACTICS then let’s define these actions clearly and put to a vote how TO DEAL WITH ANYBODY who engages in destructive tactics & actions.

        OWS IS ACCUSED AGAIN AND AGAIN OF EVERY -ISM ON THE BOOK. this proposal is a clusterfuck of white male privilege and it needs to go.

        • Tom Gillis

          cosigning this.
          I don’t like how often people back off on to the “policy of no-policy” as a way of not taking responsibility for things that are controversial or acknowledging that upholding neutrality doesn’t mean that you surrender your values as an individual or as a movement.

          It’s like when white guys say they are fine with racist hate speech because they don’t want to “censor” people – I saw that argument go down in Liberty Park back in October and it led to the formation of the Anti-Racism Allies group, btw.

        • Sean McKeown

          I don’t disagree. I’m just pointing at where the problem with Facilitation is here – this proposal being here is not their fault, they have tied their hands behind their back in refusing to judge proposals before they get to the General Assembly.

          I’m highly pro-responsibility, but the author washed his hands of any desire to take resposibility for his words, and Facilitation has no mechanism to do so. That last part very likely needs to change, but it’s been something we’ve had from the beginning of that WG.

        • Yoni Miller

          I first want to assert that you can make a proposal, to allow for a less neutral General Assembly, however all of your criticism should be directed at myself, and not the Facilitation team.

          I don’t think it’s fair to say I wash my hands of any desire, when I explicitly said quote “I accept the consequences and backlashes of this proposal, and feel free to lambast me, because I am a white privileged male, and while that says NOTHING about the kind of poverty I lived in, you are free to make assumptions about me, because I’ve heard this excuse being used over and over, and you are welcome to use it again, but I will not let it tyrannize my life or this process.”

          I do not think this proposal is racist, instead I am pointing out that Nan specifically, uses race and gender as a judgmental factor to assert her own authority over other people. I am also a member of the Deaf Community, and I’ve had a lot of challenges because of that my entire life. I grew up on welfare, and to this very day suffer from oppression, but I do not treat others with contempt.

          I am willing to take out the last portion of my proposal, but I felt it would be good to bring it out there, before she uses it as an ad hominem attack on me, which I personally find facetious.

          Liza, I personally think a generic proposal with “tactics on how to deal with disruptive people” is not enough, because Nan has consistently and KNOWINGLY disrupt the process. She takes joy in blocking proposals, for the sake of blocking them. Her specific presence is detrimental to the health of everyone, and instead of sugar coating the situation, I feel I have to be honest. I am not sure if I can stay in NYC GA if she is in. I know people who have not returned since, as a result.

        • NYCGA Council

          Liza,
          GA working group stands with you. Thanxs for being on the mark.

          • Sean McKeown

            Too bad your working group doesn’t exist, and cannot till it is actually inclusive as actual working groups are required to be.

            On that note, my request to join your forum is still pending after a week. ;)

      • Karanja

        Are you saying then that a clearly Racistpropoal to say “Ban all People of Color” could make it to the GA as a proposal. There has to be proposals that do not meet some basic ethical guidelines and a proposal to target an individual is one such. If this can go to GA, then I’m inclined to post my own Proposal with 24 hour notice to ban Yoni Miller for his superior bling privileged outlook that goes against the “Organizing for Racial Justice” principles as per our recent training with Rinku Sen. Do you see how this becomes a slippery slope?!

        • Yoni Miller

          I do not think a proposal to ban a person from the GA (I changed it) would be the same as a clearly racist proposal, that said, I am seriously strongly considering condemning many of her actions, but not mentioning her name, and instead making this a standing proposal that will apply to future individuals. Would you find that to be a friendly proposal?

          What part of “Organizing for Racial Justice” am I violating? I want to note, that I condemning action that has been committed for well over 2 months that has included hijacking every single GA, physically threatening people and ordering other individuals to block or not, while you are making a proposal, to retaliate over a potential proposal.

          That said, I absolutely agree with you it’s a slippery slope.

          • Karanja

            It violates the principle of organizing from the margins – in this case, it refuses to take into account that people who’s language is not english have a difficult time expressing themselves in English, that those of us who are from other cultures other than Caucasian seem to generally have no problem understanding what Nan is communicating. There are people who may not have the capacity to communicate within the calm, quiet polite methods — these include those with a variety of emotional issues, levels of education, levels of PTSD around racism etc etc…
            This would not be purely in retaliation, it would be in my disturbance over your actions stemming from a place of privilege that I personally find highly offensive!
            And therein lies the crux of the problem, we all get offended by different things – and it is endless… I have no problem understanding Nan or her frustrations personally, and while I personally would do it differently, she generally expresses issues I agree with… This movement is seriously in need of self reflection. I see exclusion and exclusionary measures being pursued on a daily basis!!

          • Yoni Miller

            You have put words in my mouth out of nowhere. As a Deaf person I understand alternative means of communication. Making physical threats, or stepping out of process whenever s/he wants is not a lingual barrier or “alternative method of communication”. This proposal will no longer be about Nan, but to be clear, I have said nothing about her frustrations and in several cases I agree with her. I took issue of the fact, that some people just abuse the entire process.

  4. Sean McKeown

    Yoni,

    Let me state first and foremost that Nan and I do NOT see eye to eye, on almost anything. However, the protocol you are putting into place is excessive, draconian, and just as counter to the principles of solidarity as the actions you are trying to punish. Case in point: perhaps removing this individual’s ability to interact and have her voice heard at General Assembly is something that would cause her to remedy her behavior, and through censure become a member in good standing of the General Assembly by observing its rules and protocols? The punishment you are suggesting is of indeterminate time and thus is permanent censure, where perhaps a shorter period of censure or “shunning” will be sufficient to bring the member into order.

    A good policy for thinking about proposals is, would I be okay with this being used against me? And frankly, this existing in its current form is unacceptably limiting of free speech, as it is effectively two separate proposals that are wrapped into one:

    1. Create a process for censure and the silencing of voices at the General Assembly, presumably with a variable “sliding scale” of penalties: for the remainder of the proposal, for the lightest of offenses, to removal from the night’s General Assembly for weightier infractions, to censure for a week, a month, three months, et cetera.

    2. Apply this protocol to the individual in question, finding her guilty of the severest crime imaginable to require simple censure without expulsion from the Movement, permanently censuring her from the General Assembly.

    This is troubling as an existing protocol because it jumps directly to the “go nuclear” option. I would suggest, since you said you would be willing to consider giving Nan one last additional chance, that you consider introducing this proposal’s protocol in the general case and establish the precedent for different levels of censure, then apply temporary censure to the individual in question and wait and see whether this censure is something the individual can honor (presumably, since the protocol is passing General Assembly, it will be seen even by the individual in question as valid given her stance on upholding the sanctity of the GA) and if not, or if after the conclusion of the period of censure the behaviors that led to censure in the first place do not abate, further steps be considered only at that time.

    We should not be passing proposals to censure any individual barring their clear breach of the Principles of Solidarity in a way that cannot be resolved by restorative justice circles, and it is this effort to bring the community back into aligment that is necessary, not the creation of further divides within the group by the permanent censure of an individual. This is not Law and Order: Occupy Wall Street Victims Unit, there are other forms of justice available to the needs of the community as a whole than “policing” an individual member who seems to be out of order, and this proposal existing in the first place is a clear sign that a mechanism for airing grievances and resolving problems on an individual or group level needs to come into existence.

    I do not think that this proposal does that, and additionally I think your other proposal suggesting a mechanism for overcoming invalid blocks will cover much of the need this proposal is serving. I know the Safer Spaces working group has been seeking to create a means for restorative justice and the enforcement of the principles this movement stands for when they are breached, perhaps you should be discussing this in more detail with them. You can join their mailing list by sending an email to saferspaceows+subscribe@googlegroups.com

      • Yoni Miller

        Sean’s amendments are heartily accepted.

        I will modify my proposal, so that Nan will be banned from the GA for two months, if she abuses her power during the GA. I think that is a fair amount, because that is to make up for the two months, that many of us unfairly had to endure.

        Today I was serving on Facilitation (I won’t on Thursday), and she openly said she does not have to follow the rules, when I brought a PoP. I do not have any personal beef, and haven’t said anything to her, off the General Assembly, but I see how she demonizes and insults just about everyone she disagrees with, using her race and gender as an excuse for her behavior.

        • Amy M

          I am thoroughly overwhelmed by this thread, but thank you Yoni for speaking up. Also, I want to say that there are possibly other people that blatantly refuse to follow rules, or more than will join that are not in solidarity with our movement but claim to be. There absolutely needs to be structures in place for drawing the line somewhere. Not at all sure if person specific proposals are the way to go. I think I would prefer more general procedures for keeping thing on task when disruptions occur.

          Just to add, I don’t think that being continually out of process, disruptive, and making physical threats is an effective way to fight against racisms/sexism/classism. Standing up for that behavior is not the same as standing up against racism/sexism/classism.

      • Ally

        just to be clear I was upsparkling Sean’s comment about the excessive draconian nature of this proposal not Yoni’s pathetic privileged ammendment as would only come from a person who has never known what being excluded and discriminated on because of your identity might look like.

        • Yoni Miller

          Really? as a member of the LGBTQ and Deaf community, I have encountered discrimination, and it hurts the most when it’s family members. This is an example, where my race and gender are blankly used to say I have no position on whether it is acceptable or not for a person to hijack meetings, threaten people or disrespect the entire process of solidarity and respect.

          • Ally

            My apologies for my generalization — your proposal is still coming from a place of privilege however and it is still wrongheaded

          • Sean McKeown

            The only privledge I can specifically see is, as a member of the deaf community, you don’t have to hear it…

  5. Urbaned

    On the second day of the creation of this website, I created the Restorative Justice group. You can read about the principles here: http://owsrestorativejustice.wikispaces.com/

    Censure and expulsion are unsuccessful methods that divide communities. Restorative Justice is meant to heal them.

    Learning how to deal with everyone in the 99% is perhaps an issue no one thought would become so prominent. In a way, it makes sense that it has. Let’s figure out a way to heal it.

    • Dallas

      In principle that’s more appropriate and less divisive than censure, shunning, expulsion, etc. when a given individual or group has acted in a fashion that someone thinks has violated and/or endangered the property and well-being of others.

      In terms of what’s actually been going on, IMHO the lack of a forum for expression operating on these principles in the first place is the root cause of half of the acting out and repeated disruptions during large meetings. Some of our sisters and brothers have strong feelings of having been disrespected that they aren’t getting to express and have validated elsewhere…. so they do it during the only time when they can have the attention of dozens of people and get an immediate response. As long as the only place where we pay attention to those who are in mental anguish and internal conflict is at our meetings when they jump stack and make a scene…. jumping stack and making a scene will be a staple of our meetings. People need group therapy, encounter sessions whatever term you like… no set agendas and time limits… just talking things out as needed to keep internal and external peace.

  6. Patricia L

    I agree that facilitation is supposed to act as an neutral party and, as such, shouldn’t generally prohibit proposals from coming to the floor. However, if a proposal is clearly contrary to the NYCGA Principles of Solidarity, which I believe this proposal is, it shouldn’t be put on the agenda.

    The topic of perceived “disruptive” behavior comes up at every GA and Spokes Council, so it clearly needs to be addressed somehow. However, directing a proposal toward an specific person doesn’t address this and threatens to deepen the divisions we already face in the movement.

    @yoni2b – I urge you to do as @smckeown suggested and work with other groups that are working on “restorative justice and the enforcement of the principles”. Please reconsider and withdraw your proposal.

    • quinn

      @Patricia, I’m not commenting for or against this proposal or any of the responses, but if you’re saying that a proposal that is clearly contrary to the Principles of Solidarity should be blocked from being heard, then what do we do with a person who consistently acts in a manner that is clearly contrary to the Principles of Solidarity? Block them from being heard?
      And I agree with you that something needs to be done about the disruptive behavior. It has driven many good, hard-working people away from GA/SC.

      • Tom Gillis

        Block the behavior, not the person. It looks like spokescouncil is making some headway here based on the proposal that was passed last night.

        • Yoni Miller

          I personally am doubtful, that proposals or rules will have any effect, because we already have rules currently stated in the system. The whole point of stack and particularly, progressive stack, is to enable ONE person to speak at a time, and for everyone else to give their absolute attention and respect to. Those are already procedures of the GA, and if people cannot follow them, what can I do?

          What does it mean “block the behavior?” Other than a physical ban, I do not see how I can “block a behavior”. At best, we can encourage good behavior, but this does not seem to work with Nan. We are rewarding her, for every time she rules with her tyranny.

          • Sam Redman

            Perhaps the proposal could be restated to remove any person (and not anyone by name) who uses race or gender as a judgmental factor to assert their own authority over other people. That positioning would be “color-blind” in relation to any individual being accused.

          • Yoni Miller

            I cannot reply to Sam on this for some reason, but I am agreeing with Sam Redman on this.

          • Sam Redman

            A more inclusive wording should include LGBTQ and any other marginalizing designation in that criteria.

            However, such a provision for removal would, of course, be null if a legitimate argument could be presented which would justify such usage regarding the specific situation at hand.

          • Lippe

            “What does it mean ‘block the behavior?’ ”
            I interpret this as meaning that we should create policies that affect group dynamics as a whole, and not craft proposals to address individuals.
            On the other hand, I also agree with this sentiment that turned up in my mailbox:
            “Making rules to protect the process instead of designing process to support the work that needs to get done is a sign of a group loosing its sense of shared purpose.”

            I would rephrase it as “improve the process to make it relevant and elegant.”

            Attempts to “protect the process” or “block the person” are often overbroad, contentious, time-consuming, divisive, and lots of other cheery stuff – but there’s a theorized obvious and direct assumed result. It’s satisfying to “solve” things with policies.

            I see this as an opportunity to improve our own tools.

            -More lead notice for proposals: General process issue.
            -Better digital announcing of proposals: Email subscriptions, full text RSS feeds.
            -Increased access to proposals: There’s work being done on voice (855-NYCGA-411), there’s potential for paper, or portable digital access.
            -Improved ability to develop friendly amendments in the discussion process. e.g. replies in this thread could be rated, the original proposer should be able to attach amendments.

            ..and more! The premise being that there are small, concrete, iterative steps we can take to support constructive dialog.
            .02

  7. J P McMahon

    As an outside observer who is sympathetic to many of your anti-corruption goals, but not your tactics or far left rhetoric, I have found watching your activities through this website and linked live streaming to be both entertaining, and frequently compelling. As I mentioned in a previous post, someone should make a play or film out of your spokes council meetings. Anyway, that woman Nan? She is single handedly wrecking a lot of what you are trying to do. If you had a member that you knew to be a police agent or an operative for Koch Industries, would you give them the same leeway that you are giving her? That would make you “all inclusive” wouldn’t it? This woman is an adult, not a petulant child. You folks are trying to do something that is very “adult” in nature, so at minimum, shouldn’t your members be expected to display grown up behavior? To an outsider, this person is becoming the face of your movement.

    • Dallas

      Point of information:I didn’t card her or anything, but Nan told me recently that she is actually 18 years old. Without getting into the literal actuality of that statement, I think it might have some bearing on the assertion at the end of the above post.

  8. Ann Stalls

    Nan is done as far as I am conserned. She is a stain on the movement.
    Please remove her.

    • Ally

      Based on whose authority?! Spoken only as I would expect of a person who’s only known privilege!!

      • Ann Stalls

        Not the case. I am a retired teacher but I believe everyone needs to follow procedures.

      • clenchner

        I love it how when folks say something you disagree with, you attack them for things beyond their control (if true). It’s called an ‘ad hominem’ attack and is known in rhetoric studies as a brilliant way to shut someone up without addressing what they said. Sweet! Keep it up and it’ll surely become an even more popular way of interacting with each other!
        (bonus points for sarcasm, openly expressed contempt, and self righteous anger – the holy trinity of middle school bullying.)

      • Yoni Miller

        This is part of the issue. I understand one’s race or gender may sometimes have a lack of perspective on an issue, but it’s also very problematic to use race/gender and any other class as a way to immediately discount one person’s opinion-which is shunning out their voices and opinion…which is hypocritical.

  9. Daniel

    Do not withdraw the proposal. If there are concerns in regard to directing the proposal at a single person or any other concerns, then let those present offer friendly amendments at the GA. Identifying disruptive behavior is as close to an objective action as we can possibly achieve. Loud noise in the form of shouting, foul language, insults, flailing body language – it doesn’t matter who you are or your reasons for acting this way it is not acceptable.

    Offering unjustifiable blocks is also disruptive. If one submits a block, then one is stating that one will consider leaving the movement if the proposal in question is passed. An accurate gauge of someone’s sincerity and whether they are truly participating in the ideals of this movement would be to contrast the number of blocks they have offered, the number of those proposals they have blocked that have passed and whether they are still here. If you block, the proposal passes and you are still here, then apparently your block was not that important and quite possibly you should have considered some form of reconciliation instead of stressing every body out.

    It doesn’t matter who offers the proposal. To offer an example one can take the case of an evil, untrustworthy person stating that 2 +2 = 4. The words spoken are truthful, the speaker has no effect on those words. It would be best if this proposal passes, but in many ways it has already achieved its goal in breaching the silence and bringing this conversation forward.

    Please don’t throw out insults or use name-calling as a means of argument. Don’t condemn me or anyone else for being born straight, white and male. I did not choose my birth, but I do choose my actions and I will act uprightly, just like every one else that isn’t straight, white and male in this movement commits to acting. I should be judged by my actions and not by my orientation, skin color or gender identification.

    • NYCGA Council

      We need to check ourselves instead of attempting to clock someone else.

      GA Working Group

      • Dallas

        I just checked myself, and found myself doing a disservice to the community by allowing one or two people to

        –filibuster nearly every proposal involving a budget allocation,
        –jump stack regularly
        –shout people down in meetings
        –then use their membership in traditionally marginalized groups as a weapon against fellow Occupiers to get their way regardless of the group’s consensus

        Simply out of fear that I might be labeled as an aggressor and a oppressor if I insist that there be a limit to the degree that we allow our work and our community to be disrespected in the name of “diversity” and “tolerance”.

        If some 18 year old white boy was running up in GAs shouting over people and jumping stack, claiming that maleness and European ancestry gave him the right to do so, it’d fly for about 4.5 seconds tops.

        All I want is equality and productive meetings, is that wrong?

  10. Jordan Soreff

    It’s all too complicated and all too simple at the same time. Wish I was close enough to these events to be specific as @urbaned or @stristero might criticize me for not offering a more complete solution; but here are my 2 cents… This is largely a restatement of @smckeown ‘s friendly amendments…
    Yoni should define Nan’s behavior in general terms that could apply to anyone and rewrite his proposal without reference to any single individual. If she has been disruptive, define exactly how, if she is manipulating others in a way that seems wrong, define it in general terms. Also, the consequences of ‘bad’ behavior need to be considered more thoroughly; banishment forever is a last resort, what could some other interim steps be? Temporary suspension? Mandatory facilitation training, signed certificate necessary before return? NOTE: Race, gender, classism, any divisive language has no place in the proposal or remedies recommended – OWS must be utterly above racial profiling always – total human equality – always.

    Point of Information – at a recent meeting of a sub-group of spokes (or some such thing), many hands were raised agreeing to a need for drafting and defining “Rules Of Conduct” or a “Code Of Behavior” – this could go far in terms of curing this disruptive malaise which now drags at the core of our movement. First a “Code Of Behavior”; then, a Protocol to follow when people do not comply with the accepted Code.

    @urbaned I’m a newbie. How would you apply Restorative Justice in this case?

    • s.t.

      “NOTE: Race, gender, classism, any divisive language has no place in the proposal or remedies recommended – OWS must be utterly above racial profiling always – total human equality – always.”

      au contraire, my friend. completely agreed.

      “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

      “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

      restoration, not retribution. this goes for both sides of the argument.

      • Yoni Miller

        My choice wording in the first version of the proposal was ill chosen, and in my 2nd version (see the comments, it is removed).

        The reason I brought it up, is because as @sam redman said

        “the proposal could be restated to remove any person (and not anyone by name) who uses race or gender as a judgmental factor to assert their own authority over other people. That positioning would be “color-blind” in relation to any individual being accused.”

        I am not sure how I feel about making this proposal nameless, because I need to get the message out, how many of us feel, rather than making it an ambiguous generic message, on which 99% of the people have been following ANYWAYS.

        • Sean McKeown

          Yoni: The answer is, quite simply, not to use Nan’s name, or attempt to pass judgment on her. You’re forgetting the necessity of checks and balances – in this case the NYCGA would be legislating a “law”, and you cannot both pass a law (legislative) and condemn someone for its trespass (judicial) within the same motion. No matter how appropriate it is you feel to censor Nan directly with a General Assembly vote on this proposal, what is acceptable in blanket concept as the general case is *not* acceptable in the specific case when there is no pre-existing precedent.

          It hurts to say, but when Nan said that she does not have to follow the community agreements, she does not have to stop and listen, she does not have to have a good reason for her block… she is frankly telling you the truth, though it is an unpleasant one.

          With a limitation on blocking (your other proposal), ramifications for using a block and failing to stop a motion (because others do not share your concerns once you’ve drawn attention to them), and a system to exclude the voices of those who abuse the system until and unless they have been through a transformative justice measure (or refused to do so), the “loopholes” as it were would be closed. Nan’s statement that she does not have to follow the rules would then be untrue, and there would be something you could do for holding her accountable when she does not herself bind her actions to the Community Agreements.

          Specifically, Nan has nothing to do with the problem, she is just best among the group so far at exploiting the weaknesses of the system and our refusal to date to repair them. Give teeth to the community agreement and that will change, because she too will understand that the choice is no longer between “waiting in line” and “speaking when I want to”, but is now between “waiting in line” and “not being able to speak anymore because I did not follow protocol”.

          As it currently exists, while you may see her actions as ‘immoral’, within the rules of the game that OWS has put into place it is a pure +EV play for her to break process and become heard out of turn, and to abuse blocks at her whim instead of use blocks as we envision their design. It is a pure -EV play to follow these rules, both for her and for us when the system is being abused, and while we can claim some moral high-ground for we are long-suffering, patient followers of “the process”, unless and until something exists to point out that this has a moral character and that this will have social ramifications, there is no reason to expect anyone’s behavior to change for the better.

          I would strongly urge you to propose this simply as the general case, and include one specific punishment for trivial offenses, one specific punishment for minor offenses, and one specific punishment for major offenses. I’ve got a lot of emails across several mailing lists that I can potentially forward you (contact me at s_mckeown@hotmail.com if you’d like me to forward you some) specifically from Mediation/NVC and Safer Spaces about how transformative/restorative justice systems might be implemented, and they themselves are working on a proposal for circle justice to solve grievances that should hopefully be at GA by year’s end. I’d suggest in the meantime the following:

          Trivial Offense – speaking out of turn as a minor point of process. Results in verbal notification that you are out of process, as well as advice on how to become ‘in-process’. May be applied as many times as deemed appropriate by the Facilitation staff before any offenses are considered to be ‘upgraded’ as systematic, given that the process can be difficult to follow for newcomers and the distinctions between clarifying questions and concerns can be very blurry even to the most experienced members of OWS who have attended many or most of the General Assemblies.

          Minor Offense – As agreed upon by the Facilitation staff and General Assembly participants both. Results in the censure of speaking for one hour or the conclusion of the agenda item being discussed, whichever is longer.

          Major Offense – As agreed upon by the Facilitation staff and the General Assembly participants both. Results in the censure of speaking for the remainder of the evening.

          A continuing pattern of one offense can upgrade to the next, accordingly; fall out of process the same way three times, and suddenly you’re being asked to just listen for the next hour. Interrupt, intentionally break stack, shout someone down, and you’re being asked to listen for the next hour; do it twice and you’re done for the night. Do that on a repeating basis and you earn censure: your voice will be ignored entirely at General Assembly, and you will not be able to participate, unless and until you have been a participant in a transformative justice circle that has been mediated between the party creating the harm and the community that has been harmed, so that grievances can be aired and a pattern of behavior can be changed via direct intervention.

          We need rules, not punitive justice against the worst abuser of the system… because the worst abuser of the system is just a mantle that will carry down to the next in line until we’ve fallen down that slippery slope. We need to fix the system and invite Nan to participate as a full member therein, with the punishments for breaching protocol clearly identified and given proper weight so she can obey or be judged accordingly.

          … That’s what I mean by “she deserves one more chance,” you have to do this right or you have to not do it at all.

          Sort of a long-winded “friendly amendment”, but I would like to see your proposal be something we can actually approve of, as opposed to block on general principles. I agree with the need, but not how it is being fulfilled, and though Nan and I are often in each others’ faces and on the other sides of issues, I would block this proposal because of its efforts to enforce upon her a justice system that previously had never existed.

          • Yoni Miller

            I have spoken with Conner on this as well, and I accept your friendly amendments 100%. I am merging this proposal with my earlier proposal, to save the GA time, and because they are the same topic.

          • stephan geras

            With your solution, one has to grant her the will and the ability to participate, You could end up with a big problem when a person who is incapable of controlling his/her behavior is told that the rule says she can’t speak, decides to become louder, more offensive, even violent.

          • Karanja

            Sean, I respect your seemingly genuine outlook toward solutions. The problem is that discussions around accountability have been started from a point of wanting to ban Nan, along with about 4 or 5 other people, which makes it impossible to think up systems that aim to deal with actions and behavior, which is why common sense solutions like yours have not made it anywhere near where they ought to… Thanks for this suggestion, and for promising to block, as many of us are willing to do.

          • Yoni Miller

            Karanja, I have stated numerous times. I will not seek to ban Nan or any other individual. I wholeheartedly agree with Sean, and will be working on a system, that deals with action and behavior. Are you willing to help work with me on this? I am very glad we are having this conversation, and I understand you may have some grievances over any proposal I make, because of what I said earlier.

            I have no secret plot, and it’s perhaps because of that, that many people are (perhaps rightfully) upset at me. It seems like you are amiable to working on a “common sense” proposal, and I promise you, what you see, is what is there. There are no exterior motifs. I simply want a safe and bearable environment to work in.

          • Don

            Hello all from a newbie!

            I see much in the way of disciplinary proposals .

            Has someone tried to represent her ? Representation is a very good idea in a court room because of all you have presented here , and it may be what you and her need !

            This whole O.W.S. thing is enough to bring anxiety levels to new heights for anyone !
            For young people who haven’t built up a tolerance , extreme emotions can be expected .
            Even for experienced people , something as important as what we are going through in the United States , as well as around the world can be enough to raise ones emotional level .

          • Karanja

            No Yoni, I would not want to work with you on anything. You have displayed enough bad will in your initial proposal as to render yourself too untrustworthy for me to want to work with you on such. I am more interested in good common sense solutions to render everyone in the movement including those who abuse their privilege more accountable and in particular those who use whatever privilege they have to attempt to silence others, no matter how common sense their approach is, and no matter how politely they do so… I am particularly interested in working on making facilitation in particular more transparent and accountable…

  11. Pineapple

    This is a clear overreaction to one member who’s only as powerful as she’s allowed to be, and draws her disruptive ability from a systemic flaw (The block).

    Essentially, you’re feeding the troll by creating a proposal like this, and are actively minimizing the focuses of the movement, which has already been scattered since the eviction.

    One question left unsettled in this proposal; this proposal seems to imply banning Nan from OWS. How would we go about policing something like this? And how is that not inherently elitist?

    The solution to Nan is two-fold: One, you have to discipline yourself and ignore her actions if you deem them so ridiculous. You are empowering her by doing this, beside the fact that allowing someone to annoy you to this extent is a little immature.

    Two, her ability to block, and blocking in general, is a clear problem with our process, and not with Nan. We should focus the light on this, and not her.

    • Yoni Miller

      You can read the transcripts todays GA and several others, where it even says “Nan speaks off stack”. I personally think the only way to make her follow the rules that apply to everyone, such as not excessively calling out, or demonizing others is to physically ban her. I agree, permanent ban from the entire OWS is pulling too much of a nuclear option, so I will modify it to a 2 month ban from the GA itself.

      My 2nd proposal, to modify the abuse of blocks, will help fix the situation for many block abusers, however it is clear with Nan, that she will do everything she can to disrupt the process.

      I personally think we’d be able to focus more, if we stopped the trouble makers, instead of dedicating hours, multiple working groups and discussions to one person. I myself have spent many many hours discussing this, and attending many meetings where this was discussed, but I feel after a while, my time is wasted, and the only recourse is actual action.

      That said, it is very possible that Nan will modify her behavior, if we modify our procedure (in another proposal I am making, to reform the blocking system).

      That said, I don’t think you can only blame the system, because an overwhelming majority of the GA has been very cooperative, patient and able to follow basic rules of courtesy and respect.

      • Pineapple

        The General Assemblies may be orderly, but the Spokes Councils have shown how easy it is to hijack the process. The GAs may also be orderly because they’ve been held outside, with the discomfort of the cold helping to curtail any potential delaying of the process with unacceptable behavior. After all, no one wants to stand around even longer in sub-30 degree temperatures.

        Issues like Nan have also been experienced in other occupations, which have followed the same structure. That’s what leads me to believe it might be structural.

        I still don’t like the idea of centralizing a proposal around her actions; this is similar to the government’s general reactions to situations like terrorism (Where the one shoe bomber has forced all of us to take off our shoes at TSA checkouts), and also the entire notion that an action need be done about one person is so far below the movement and it’s scale.

        I insist, again, Nan’s power is purely subjective illusion; she’s as powerful as we make her. And right now, she seems to be pretty damn strong.

        • Yoni Miller

          I think to not make a proposal for Nan, and instead “work on ourselves, and understanding Nan better” is the equivalent of making all of us take our shoes. Many of us would agree, should this proposal be successful, it would be an immense time and headache saver, because people would be able to attend future GA’s at ease. I don’t think people would over react in the future, as a result of knowing that they can be censured as a result.

          Point of information, Today and Thursday and possibly all of January will be held indoors in 56 Walker.

          • Sarah

            Please note: We should take Occupy Portland as an example to follow. They do not use blocks. Their spokes councils & general assemblies are positive, peaceful spaces.

            We should contact them & copy their model, because it works, instead of continuing to try & fix something flawed.

            We may be OWS, but we have a lot to learn from the other occupations, and this is just one example of where their decisions have been more intelligent & all encompassing than ours has been thus far.

  12. J P McMahon

    Troll here. Why would a group of passionate, dedicated, well educated individuals spend so much time and energy dealing with a person that is such a detriment to what they are trying to do? I’ve spent most of my life working with at risk youth, and have constantly reiterated the idea that who you hang out with establishes who you are. Has the definition of “elitism” gotten to the point where you have to deal in a respectful, cordial, and inclusive way with ANYONE, even if they are dragging you and your friends down, and are generally being an annoyance every time they are around you? How many other people in the 99% would go along with that? If this is a popular movement, you’ve got to get a grip on how your average person would react to a situation like this. Do you think that these antics would be tolerated at a meeting of the Kiwanis Club, Jaycees, Township Council, or School Board? I keep hearing “The world is watching!”, and myself and anyone else who is interested in this movement are watching the people that purportedly have all the answers unable to deal with a single out of control individual. It looks ridiculous.

    • Yoni Miller

      Do you have a suggestion, since you seem to have valuable experience and expertise in this area. Many of us in Facilitation, SC and GA are baffled as to what to do.

      • NYCGA Council

        Yoni
        You’ve done enough!
        And this proposal did not come from Facilitation, SC, or the GA, it came from you and your allies.

        PS. This is the response you get from stake-holders wheb it’s clear that the agenda does not include all on an equal playing field.

        • reginahny

          I am not clear on the mission of this NYCGA Council Workgroup. There is already an Accountability and Transparency WG which has been working hard for months. I have asked before in a respectful and non-confrontational way what this WGs mandate is. I’m not sure what empowers you to tell others that they have “done enough”? Is your group the new voice of Accountability and Transparency as consensed by the GA? I can’t help but notice you have 13 members (vs. A&T’s 168 members) and no Accountable or Transparent contact information aside from your “nom de plume.” Accountablity starts at home, in my opinion only.

          • reginahny

            Argh — hate to reply to myself but have no edit function. I wanted to clarify that this question does not have to do at all with the merits or lack thereof of Yoni’s proposal. Only to do with your odd response about “allies, stakeholders” etc. I wouldn’t normally threadjack with such an inquiry but haven’t gotten a response at your WG pages.

      • stephan geras

        in my work with at risk youth of color, we tried everything to keep disruptive elements from ruining the whole process for the kids who wanted to do something. We tried involving the admin, the social workers, the parents etc, etc. It was hard to control my temper at times, but knowing the consequences of reacting kept me from it. In the end we had to enlist security; whenever there was a problem security were called in. But I always felt that the solution was weak, thin. Some of the youth who were the biggest disruptors were among the most innovative and creative! So we were acting against our own real interests having them removed. However, in the end the whole process improved for those who wanted to participate. Sad, but true. The GA or Spokes is not equipped to deal with bad behaviour. That’s for therapists. And i retrospectively realized that we were ignoring the CHOICE of those who didn’t disrupt, to participate….their choice holds equal weight to the choices of the disruptors. Addendum, a few individuals who had been removed, realizing they really wanted to participate, returned and voluntarily respected the process.

    • quinn

      “Why would a group of passionate, dedicated, well educated individuals spend so much time and energy dealing with a person that is such a detriment to what they are trying to do?”

      This is what I keep asking, too.

      • Sarah

        agreed. we have too much work to do. let us discuss the work at hand, no petty disagreements.

        and if the process doesnt work for you, dont participate. many groups are not active at spokes or ga because it is more effective for them to stay on task & do valuable work.

        let your work speak for you, not your opinions. and get back to work everyone!!

  13. soothsayer

    banning is rather extreme, and it sounds like a witch hunt here. why not have the two parties come to some sort of binding arbitration. maybe perhaps a trial run of having somebody else in her WG speak on behalf of her WG?

      • Sam Redman

        What is her working group? Is she drawing the $100 per day stipend?

        • peter tamarkin

          … I think we have arrived at the heart of it here.

          Recognized working groups get $100 to spend every day. These issues may all just disappear if we were to stop the flow of $$.

          stopping the $100 allowance would effectively weed out the parasites from those seriously interested in the movement.
          there are several 1 person working groups. it seems to be in a parasite’s best interest to be rude and hostile for having only oneself in a working group allows for unchecked spending.
          now some may say, well just ban all 1 person working groups. this would be difficult to enforce, easy to skirt around, and unfair to those sincerely working to increase attendance.
          there will likely be lots of proposals coming that try to regulate behavior but in my opinion, cut out the free money and lets see who sticks around.

          working groups that need to pull from the fund can still do so by going through the GA with budgets for durations of time that will naturally gradually increase through gained trust.

          • Yoni Miller

            Yesterday a new proposal was passed, to only allow 5 person working groups, which will be enforced within 30 days.

            @Soothsayer, I absolutely agree with you. I specifically do not want a trial, because this overblows the situation, and makes for many more embarrassing moments. I agree banning was way too rash, and instead a warning that would ban her from ONLY the GA for 2 months, if she continues to disrupt the GA.

          • peter tamarkin

            @yoni … kind of, but not really… it just says that five people have to be at one of your meetings over the course of a month. how easy is it to set out a jug of coffee once a month and get 5 people to sign an attendance sheet? also, the proposers said this was self-enforced. (sorry, i know this is getting off your topic a bit)

          • quinn

            From what I have been told, Nan was cut off because she requested and received money for one thing, but then spent it on another thing.

    • Don

      Don said on December 21, 2011

      Hello all from a newbie!

      I see much in the way of disciplinary proposals .

      Has someone tried to represent her ? Representation is a very good idea in a court room because of all you have presented here , and it may be what you and her need !

      This whole O.W.S. thing is enough to bring anxiety levels to new heights for anyone !
      For young people who haven’t built up a tolerance , extreme emotions can be expected .
      Even for experienced people , something as important as what we are going through in the United States , as well as around the world can be enough to raise ones emotional level .

  14. A. Fleming

    This proposal makes me extremely uncomfortable. I don’t disagree with the problem it is trying to address. I even have to admit that I am sympathetic towards it. But I think it’s that sympathy that upsets me– it comes from a part of me with a desire to be punitive. I am irritated by the constant disruptions and I feel like my irritation is somehow linked with the difficulty we are having in conducting business. The thing is, that’s a totally bullshit attitude. The individual that is being singled out in this proposal has been busting her ass since very early on in the occupation. Further, although she does disrupt way more than is in any way justified, there have been a handful of times when I think this individual’s obstructionism has caused lackluster proposals to be improved through her actions. I respect her principles but loathe her customary presentation.

    Those who have stated that the behavior and not the individual are what needs to be addressed are correct. It is sometimes necessary to scream in order to be heard. If you see people you care about careening towards the brink of a cliff, you scream to warn them. Perhaps the individual in question feels as if that is the case with OWS from her vantage. We need to respect that; it’s important. However, it is never under any circumstances acceptable to employ abusive language or threaten people. The incident at the GA where this individual threatened violence against another individual in an attempt to silence them is unacceptable. Further it must be addressed. And I think in the case of this action, the individual who threatened the violence MUST be singled out and called to account for this action. There is no place in OWS for that sort of behavior. None.

    All this being said even if you do silence one disruptor three more will spring up in their place. (I can’t help but note that at a recent Facilitation WG meeting a known disruptor was given a chance to speak equal to everyone else but invoked progressive stack as a means of allowing her to continue on an unfounded, divisive harangue of provocation. Unless we address the behavior– and what is inciting that behavior– this will only continue and worsen.)

    • Yoni Miller

      From what I understand, you are saying you do not feel entirely comfortable, and I agree, I feel the same way. It sucks that I am coming down to this, but I think it needs to be addressed.

      I personally have not been physically threatened by Nan, however if people in the crowd want to state their concerns and mention that. I would be glad to include that. I will modify my proposal, to be more specific and some of her many abusive actions.

    • NYCGA Council

      (Address) what is inciting the behavior…possible passive abusive attitudes which are not as loud and disruptive as an individual being verbal?

  15. Uppity

    I stand in solidarity with all those who OPPOSE this proposal, for all reasons stated so eloquently above. As post-er Liza said, to all those who voice opposition to this well meaning but UTTERLY misdirected effort, a kabillion uptwinkles.

  16. Uppity

    …also, the first paragraph holds the key: “none of the members of Facilitation are making any efforts to stand for what we are for.” Seems like a proposal to increase facilitation training or something like it is the issue here. There will always be Nan’s” in any group….and if someone like Nan is in fact a certified infiltrator….to even have this proposal in writing is playing right into the troll/infiltrator game book. They are saying Bingo as we speak….

    • Yoni Miller

      Facilitation training for what? If none of the people are able to handle it, who is supposed to train them on how to handle it? Do you have suggestions as to what we can do about this?

      • Uppity

        I do not know how much or little training or experience the faciilitators have had – I assumed that in order to facilitate one would have had to attend at least one of the Non-violent Communication/Compassionate Communication workshops that OWS offers, or some other workshop/training in facilitation, mediation, etc. which deals with handling situations similar to the situation with Nan, but apparently I assumed too much. I would like to offer that as a suggestion, as well as a one time 30 min orientation for new participants describing the process in detail as a prereq for attending a meeting…or at least speaking at them. Don’t think it’s too much to ask of people. Last night the GA at one point devolved into a sort of chaos without any help from Nan.

        • Yoni Miller

          The Chaos that ensued yesterday, was actually the fault of the Facilitation team. Are you referring to the counting 119 members present and 12-2 blocks?

          • Sarah

            starhawk tried to help you all, but you were not open enough to listen & change behaviors…

  17. Uppity

    (plus, Nan’s commitment and dependability re: participation, and her ostensible commitment to race and gender issues, could make her an utter blessing in another venue….sometimes you really need the people who don’t give a damn about what other people think of them. Maverick-ness can be pure gold. As long as we are not talking infiltration….)

  18. Ally

    Let it be known that neither POC nor their allies will ever let you target a person of color or anyone else for that matter in this manner… So you better be prepared to eject the whole of POC if your scheme is to succeed!

    • Yoni Miller

      Is POC backing her up, for no other reason than she is a member of POC? I am not sure if I understand the logic behind this. What I am very conscious about, am I making this proposal JUST because she’s a member of POC?

      You are casting her as a fighter for justice, and maybe she is, but what I am addressing is a clear abuse of consistent disruption and open defiance of Facilitation and threatening individuals with physical violence.

      Let me re-iterate, I agreed in a few earlier comments, that to ban her is too harsh, and instead, if she is disruptive again she will be banned from the GA for 2 months. She is welcome to continue doing her ostensible commitment to race and gender issues.

      This proposal is not about winning or losing, it is a serious concern for me, and I am glad we are having this conversation.

      • Ally

        Ahhh, and therein lies your problem Yoni. Your assumptions. You assume that I’m in POC even though my name is clearly Ally… How many assumptions do you need to challenge that perhaps brought you to this proposal?!

        • Charles

          yoni made no such assumption in the text. Why such a strong focus on who he is instead of on what he is saying? Is this a kind of tactic to silence folks? That whole ‘aaaah’ thing is so condescending and rude…. makes me want to ignore anything you say. What kind of person communicates that way? A disrespectful one.
          (See how easy it is to attack the person speaking? Yet utterly unhelpful!)

      • Karanja

        Just to be clear, my “WERD” response was to Ally to to Yoni…Yoni, your proposal is not only wrongheaded and dangerous, it is divisive, disruptive, and a clear example of disruption that is not loud and aggressive, but insensitive to the point of being racist, and there is a prime example of how you can be disruptive without being loud and aggressive, but by abuse of your various privileges (you asked above for an example). And on top of everything, why bother when you know very well it’s going nowhere?!

  19. Karanja

    This proposal is unethical and should not even belong as a proposal – it’s a violation of the principles of solidarity, it is divisive and disruptive. It needs to be withdrawn! I can’t wait to see the proposal to ban Yoni, as I’m sure will be coming soon! This would set a dangerous precedent!

  20. Yoni Miller

    MIC CHECK!! I will be removing all names from this Proposal, and continue to work on specifying what constitutes as inappropriate action. This proposal will then apply to any members of the GA, myself included. I appreciate those who participated in this conversation and emailed me as well.

    I am willing to add a friendly amendment to explicitly forbid the naming of any one individual. If you feel it would not be in order for me to include this provision, since I am very guilty of doing so, someone else is welcome to bring it up as a future proposal.

    Many feelings and emotions have been hurt throughout this conversation, and I will be inside 60 Wall Street tomorrow the entire day, so feel free to come there, and have a face to face conversation with me, and explain to me why you think what i was inappropriate or whatever other concerns you have, particularly the allegations that this was a racist proposal. I am taking these allegations very very seriously, and a conversation face to face would clarify many things. If I realize that my actions were wrong, I will publicly apologize, here on this forum, for everyone to see, and individually as well to all concerned parties.

    • Sean McKeown

      Check my post above of how you could transform this from the specific case to the general case, and possible steps that might result from breaches of protocol. :)

    • reginahny

      Kudos to you for having the courage to apologize on this Forum and for making yourself available for interpersonal response. I love the idea of you being instrumental in reworking this proposal toward positive solutions. In my opinion, even though there has been contentious dialogue — there are also great resources / ideas for solutions that have “popped up” in the conversation. In solidarity, Regina

      • Yoni Miller

        I did not, and did not claim to do so. Like I said earlier, I will be out there tomorrow, to engage in dialogue and or apologize. At this point, I don’t think I did anything wrong. People seem to be pouncing on the fact that she is a member of POC, and that I’m not. No one has looked into Gender issues, or even the oppression that I went through. There are demerits to this proposal, which is why I retracted it, however I don’t think I have done any wrong doings at this point. It is not cultural sensitivity or tolerance to allow a person to physically threaten others.

        That said, I am a very open minded person, which is why I retracted this bill, instead of being obstinate and moving forward with it anyways. I am open to having done wrong, and will apologize accordingly.

        • reginahny

          Oooops, I misunderstood your post regarding apology, I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth — it certainly is your call. I still appreciate your willingness to reconsider, and to have an open dialogue with OWSers about it.

  21. Winnie

    Just a heads up. At least 3 of us from Sustainability will be rearranging our schedules to come down and join the blocking of this. Nan needs to be empowered, and not marginalized.

    Om+Love

    • Sean McKeown

      Winnie,

      I’d be right there with you, except the proposal is shifting form to what it should be instead of what it presently is. I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and able to support it instead. :)

    • Yoni Miller

      I understand there are over 80 comments on this proposal, so I’ll repeat it, I am revoking this proposal, and will not be seeking to ban Nan. Thank you for your input.

      • Sarah

        this proposal cannot be shifted into something positive. it is inherantly flawed.

        replace this proposal with a new system of addressing grievances within our process.

  22. Winnie

    2 more cents…

    Nan is a bright young woman whose voice deserves to be heard.

    Hear her, empower her, *include* her in your process or proposal, and you will be doing this movement and humanity, a huge favor by actually BEING that change.

    • Yoni Miller

      Your usage of the words “bright and young” are pretty offensive and elitist too. I think she includes herself in the process and proposals.

      • Winnie

        Well, she is actually young. Under 20 if I am not mistaken. And to me she is also really bright. This is a literal statement. One could conclude based on the merit of your writing that you are also very bright. I am not sure why you would call me elitist. I would be pleased as cheese if someone called me young and bright. The latter MIGHT still hold a kernel of truth.

        • Yoni Miller

          Forgive me for misunderstanding, your compliments for her are well taken, but they imply there’s something wrong with not being young or bright.

          The General Assembly is all encompassing, and there’s a reason it’s not a “Salon of young college educated students”, even though college is obviously not a criteria of intelligence.

          • Winnie

            They don’t imply that all. You are interpreting it as such.

            If you’d like to engage in further discussion re: my statement of goodwill, i’ll be happy to do so with you @ the GA tomorrow.

            Many Blessings

          • Sarah

            i think you wrote this proposal because you are looking to pick a fight. your responses to positive input above make it clear that your interest is in picking others apart to deflect from yourself.

            again, mirrors, use them.

  23. Maurice Muhammad

    Freedom Justice and Equality is for all and true understanding of the people is a must. Once you move to block freedom of expression then your no better than what’s already created. When you began to restrict people because you disagree with them or you may not like the manner of their expression then you become the new oppressor! And if that is what your making then stop now because we already have that! Truth has come to you!

  24. Sarah

    Yoni,
    I find it extraordinarily concerning that you would even propose to block ANYONE entrance or contribution to our process. In order for you to call yourself an activist, you must first examine your own privilege. You need to check yourself.
    I don’t care who you point fingers at, and I understand the concern that we aren’t able to contribute to discussions in the forum effectively. This is, however, not due to individuals actions, but to the lack of consistency & effectiveness of the process. The first three weeks of the movement GA functioned with extraordinary clarity & precision.
    What you should be proposing is a return to those fundamentals, the re-ratification of why we occupy, and the establishment & expansion of community within & outside of this movement.
    I find your proposal to be more offensive and egregious than any action that has disrupted our processes. By proposing the removal of individuals from the process, you have branded yourself a simpleton.

    I suggest you find a mirror, but the truth will surprise you.

    Sarah from Sustainability
    **Public Commitment to Block any proposal of this nature now & in the future, to fundamentally protect the rights of all individuals to their freedom of speech & contribution to our open-source process, under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights

    • Yoni Miller

      I understand there are over 100 comments on this proposal, so I’ll repeat it, I am revoking this proposal, and will not be seeking to ban Nan. Thank you for your input.

  25. Get a Grip

    Time to stop the nonsense, and time to get effective. As many have pointed out, OWS is full of passionate and intelligent folks. But, right now, we are not acting that way. The basic procedures and rules of conduct must be solidified now. There can be tweaks and amendments down the road. But, unless a workable process for conducting the business of the movement are settled now, there can be no hope of achieving anything.
    An effective and expeditious way of handling BLOCKS should be decided on. Then, let’s move on. An effective and expeditious way of handling disruptive people should be decided on. Then, let’s move on.

    It’s all well and good to be sensitive, inclusive and all that stuff. But, unless we want to be remembered as a group of whiners who didn’t get anything accomplished, we had better get our stuff together, and quickly.

    Create a “to do” list, prioritize it, then work on it. My vote would be to find and occupy a permanent space in NYC. But, of course, consensus will decide what is “top of the list.”

  26. Amy M

    There is no way that I could get through this thread or comment on all the aspects of the situation. I just want to bring up one thing and if it is redundant, then I put it forth as support for the others who have brought it up. We are a non-violent movement. I wonder if there is some sort of consensus about violently threatening comments in meetings. If nothing else, we should be able to go to a meeting without being blatantly threatened with violence. Threats of violence are intimidation and control that is absolutely against everything OWS has ever agreed to as a community.

    • Sam Redman

      Amy M ( @amy3 ) -

      You have made a good point; this is for certain a non-violent movement by intention and design. You have also stated the correct position that any behavior which threatens violence can not be tolerated.

      In addition, as so many others have maintained, any person who refuses to follow the existing procedural rules, even claiming that they are exempt from such adherence, should be prohibited from continuing such disruptive actions.

      These observations and conclusions are virtually precepts or “givens” in attempting to come to a resolution of this dilemma. However, in spite of those insightful conclusions there remains (if you can excuse a trite popular expression) “the elephant in the room”. That “elephant” of course is enforcement. If a person refuses to obey the existing rules and relies on belligerence, vocal dominance and vulgar threats of violence, why would they then just stand down of their own accord when requested? The logical conclusion is that such a person would most likely be so infuriated by efforts to limit or control them that they would not only refuse to comply but increase their abusive antics to the point of literally shutting down the assemblies.

      So how can enforcement be accomplished? Conventional gatherings generally have security personnel (hired “sergeants of arms”). Those without the resources to hire private security simply call the police.
      But if neither of those options are acceptable what enforcement techniques would be? An intervention session with the help of mental health professionals? Disbanding the GA? This could be quite a debate in its own right.

      But however enforcement is effected, this truly is the most important GA issue and therefore another proposal which needs to be written and considered.

      • Yoni Miller

        Just today in SpokesCouncil, Jay brought an Aryan sign claiming it taught about “inclusion”. Spokes-council is discussing ways to keep it a safe environment. We do have a security team, however they have to act under the approval of the general GA, which is why this conversation is important.

        We need to establish a working group, to establish a criteria of punishments and such, for people who fail to follow the rules, most will then comply with the system, some won’t and if those people never will, they need to be escorted away from the GA (or SpokesCouncil if you wish to include).

        • Sam Redman

          But Yoni, the question remains, how are they to be “escorted” out? If any person without official governmental authority even puts one hand on the offender, the escorting person can then be arrested for and charged with assault.

          I think this will end up with the police as the most logical vehicle. But, for the police to be able to act in a public access location like the park there must be introconvertible evidence of a chargeable offense (not merely that the group wants them removed).

          In an owned or rented space (private property) there would be a greater license to remove any undesirable simply based on the wishes of the owner or renter. Trespassing laws are quite explicit in allowing the property holder to even be “arbitrary and capricious” in limiting who can be on the premises.

          • Yoni Miller

            This is precisely why having an indoor space for now at 56 Walker seems to work.

  27. JZ

    This has to be a record for comments on a proposal which I think is fantastic. I’m sure it was an emotional wrecking at times for some but I think we’ve reached a new height in online participation as it pertains to in-person gatherings. We need more of this to improve the process. Your dedication is a great thing to witness. I hope to meet some of you at least from time to time. I will be at 60 Wall tomorrow. Look for the tall non-privileged caucasian male.

  28. stephan geras

    I don’t see anything in what Yoni said is “picking a fight”; there are too many people who agree with him. And it’s apparent to me that the role/mechanics of “blocking” needs to be hammered out in a public debate without violence, facetious blocks, accusations. incrimination, loud interruption, anger etc. etc. Everyone needs to agree on basic principles. i see a lot of people threatening to block even before they have participated in any discussion.. A block isn’t in the process to be a threat to sabotage discussion…that’s not its purpose at all. Some really difficult to deal with things could surface from a public debate about a proposal like this. We need to uncover, to reveal not to bully or force change. After all, if Nan deserves a chance, why not Yoni? I have a proposal for structuring a discussion of this proposal.

    • Karanja

      Apparently there are too many people who disagree with him — he would have continued if that were not the case…

  29. Siobhan

    Generically I explicitly agree with the premise but I don’t think someone’s name should be attached in other words if an individual or group is extremely disruptive, has done NOTHING but block and disrupt every single General Assembly. This person or group appears to represent the voice of tyranny and selfishness and detrimental to the health of our GA and its members causing more then to feel they need to leave the group. If they represent the very things that we Occupiers are FIGHTING against then they will be no longer be welcome in the meetings and/or events.

    This will not only cover her, but other agitators including violent ones. While this is only hearsay, I heard someone say there was an OWSer that broke a storefront window on D17 night. We had the incident where we had a girl sexually assaulted. We see threats all too often. These people can ruin everything we are working so hard for. These don’t have to be hardcore excommunications. They can be suspensions to remind people of our own personal responsibilities. We can allow people to fight this suspension to assure there is no bias by bringing in independent visitors from other occupations or even through livestreamers on skype to have a hearing over the grievances and then if the person facing suspension does not like the outcome they can bring it before the entire locale after.

    This is just off the top of my head but frankly I was embarrassed by what I saw tonight. I would probably vote for this proposal because of that but I would be so much more comfortable if it wasn’t directed to one person no matter there race/gender/religion/orientation.

    I would also like to see the name calling put to an end. I hear her calling some bitches, others calling her crazy and a liar and that disgraceful sign. People have to be responsible for their behavior and if they can’t they have to leave the space.