This proposal from the Facilitation Working Group seeks to reduce the number of scheduled NYCGA General Assembly meetings per week. A nearly identical proposal will be brought to the Spokes Council for a reduction of its weekly meetings.
GA’s 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 vitality of the General Assembly is essential to the strengthening of OWS. The purpose of this proposal is to strengthen the GA.
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 GA. 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 GA. Facilitation teams would also 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 GA meet twice a week (Tues, Saturday) rather than 4 times and that the Spokes Council meet twice a week (Monday & Thursday) rather than 3 times.
We propose acknowledgement that any General Assembly is empowered to call additional meetings or further reduce scheduled meetings, as needed, by consensus.