1/16/12: Reduce Spokes Council Meetings

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

This proposal from the Facilitation Working Group seeks to reduce the number of scheduled OWS Spokes Council meetings per week. A nearly identical proposal will be brought to the GA.

Spokes Councils represent, to many, the opportunity to be involved in the direct democracy we value and to connect to OWS itself. These meetings are oriented toward decision-making. Our greater purpose might be served with fewer meetings oriented toward decision-making. The purpose of this proposal is to strengthen the Spokes Council.

There are alternatives that might strengthen our movement. These include ‘open space’ meetings for discussion, connection and community-building.  By reducing the number of movement-wide, decision-oriented meetings we seek to create room for these alternatives to develop.

For people with limited time, fewer meetings allow them to set aside the necessary time per week to attend a Spokes Council. Cutting back on meetings wouldn’t just allow involved OWS participants to go to fewer meetings it would allow working families an easier avenue to involvement.Fewer meetings will address another concern: an increase in participation strengthens the quorum.  Fewer meetings will also allow development and preparation of proposals before they are brought to the Spokes Council. Facilitation teams would benefit greatly as they would have more time to prepare.

We believe that the Portland model (see here) has great merit and that the conditions it attempts to address are similar to ours. However we propose a simple reduction in weekly meetings from 7 to 4. We propose that the Spokes Council meet twice a week (Monday & Thursday) rather than 3 times. We will bring a proposal to the GA that it meet twice a week (Tues, Saturday) rather than 4 times.

We propose acknowledgement that any Spokes Council is empowered to call additional meetings or further reduce scheduled meetings, as needed, by consensus.

10 Responses to “1/16/12: Reduce Spokes Council Meetings”

  1. Chepe

    I agree with this proposal and had been wanting to bring it since early December, but I strongly disagree with the reduction in General Assemblies. The Spokescouncil, especially we don’t have a liberated space like Liberty Plaza, never needed to meet three times weekly after the raid. The GA is a different matter altogether

  2. liza

    (cross-posting in the similar proposal for changing spokes.)

    i think spokes should be only 2x a week but the GAs if not cut back,
    then they need to be reconfigured. for example:

    – SUNDAY : OFF. Just soapbox it.

    – MONDAY : Financial GA
    (the one & only day for $ proposals)

    – TUESDAY : spokes

    – WEDNESDAY : CAUCUS GA to be rotated among caucuses

    – THURSDAY : spokes

    – FRIDAY : “THINK TANK” or Arts & Culture GA


    we need more GAs that aren’t about just money proposals. we need more meetings that are tactical, focused on DAs or events that grow the movement. that’s why, for example, for “hump day”, we should mix it up. have one GA in Spanish or Arabic, then the next week only focused on LGBTQ issues or immigration. the point being always to mix things up WITH INTENTION, and program these GAs more like events and less like “let’s throw something on the wall and see if it sticks”.

    that’s why having a Friday GA that is either Think Tank or Arts & Culture focused is not just a good idea but absolutely necessary. we’re not having fun and people are burning out.

    let’s get back to movement building and tactical direct action organizing and let’s stop all the “gimme money” nonsense.

    am still outraged $10K went to basically what is some kid’s winter vacation passing as “outreach”. no wonder we’re broke.

    • Dallas

      Strongly support more multi-lingual GAs if Translation can make it happen. Chinese, Arabic, Russian…

  3. Dallas

    @liza BTW, I doubt any of us would have considered 170K “broke” before O15.

    Who’s going on a $10K vacation on our dime?

  4. Sarah Ashley Baxendell

    A lot of us have been discussing this process for a while.

    I think financial decisions should only be made in Spokes Council. In Spokes the groups working in this movement are represented. GA is currently random people who don’t have the perspective to make tactical decisions.

    Let GA be movement building, soap box, strategic discussion, etc. Let GA be lively & varied. Let GA be where we toil & argue & discuss.

    Let spokes be a financial body. It was originally designed to make sure Sanitation had enough $$ for trash bags.

    Two financial spokes a week. Let’s keep it simple. We are all too busy for a schedule of meeting on top of our current meetings. We will never get anything done if our delegates have to check into Spokes every night.


  5. Raugh Mentyde

    I support multi lingual GAs or translations of them. We MUST reach out to all of The Earth as this is not ONLY an American issue but an EARTH HUMAN issue. We must ask around, online and in the community, find everyone who can speak any and all foreign languages and honor our translators just as we honor our artists, teachers, protectors, doctors, spiritual teachers and all of our great people. Translators will have a most VITAL role to play in the future of our FREE PEOPLES movement. They will help WE THE PEOPLE to send messages to the world which contain love and truth and oppose the aggressive stance our “elected representatives” tends to have, as well as they will help us to acquire resources, moral support, knowledge, information, trained educated experts and PEOPLE POWER. All of this will be absolutely necessary for us to build up our FINALLY, truly free and open society. We are moving into a great new time. I see it in all of you. Let us not exclude anyone.

  6. Karanja

    Two GAs and two SpokesCouncils a week are still extremely masochistic. I would seek to reduce both Spokes and GA’s to just one a week each, which I think would increase attendance. Spokes and GA are both all about process and process has proven to be extremely frustrating and draining both on personal energies, time and even resources as well. Reducing them to one each weekly and modifying and clarifying their functions – with transparency, would increase incentives to attend, as well as effectiveness in my view. Stay with me as I try and elaborate.

    I would hope we would be willing to reconsider allowing financial decisions to be made in both fora, as this is inherently conflict inducing with two bodies with different levels of attendance seeking to perform the same task with seemingly competing powers being accorded each.

    I hope that you would be willing to consider a friendly amendment that Spokes has the function of reviewing and having the opportunity to have input and make recommendations for budgets, which the proposer should be at liberty to accept or refuse, but then the final actual financial voting would only take place in GA. While the passing of budgets in Spokes would be mandatory, Spokes would not have the power to veto the budgets, but would perhaps have a thumbs up or thumbs down vote, such that by the time a budget makes it to GA, people would already have a good idea what the polling is and thus what the outcome might be. This would give the incentive to proposers to accept the advice given at Spokes, and amend their proposals to improve them.

    The above amendment if accepted, I feel would increase transparency to OWS spending, and would render the whole movement’s expenditures slightly more accountable.

    The rest of the week should be taken up by Open Spaces and other types of fora as suggested herein. I believe that if accepted, this amendment would increase attendance to the only two weekly movement-wide ‘most-impacting’ bodies. It provides both opportunity as well as incentives to attend these two rarer but highly important gatherings to include all of those who are otherwise usually too busy in other meetings, but who would love to have input in the most important decisions for the movement.. Both of them would preferably be held over the weekend, but not absolutely necessarily so..

  7. sumumba

    LOL jus kiddin but HONESTLY one of the few functioning caucuses IS the LEISURE CAUCUS…and in my view OUTREACH is the BEST at throwing them! :)