1/21/2012: Open meetings for all operation decisions

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

From Jeffrey Brewer


I would like to propose that all consensus decisions that affect operations, personnel, policies, or agendas inside of OWS Working Groups be made at OPEN meetings accessible for all members of OWS to participate in, without requiring “membership” in any group or clique.

Currently there are a number of Working Groups (WG) that make operational decisions that affect all of the OWS community in closed meetings that are not accessible to the community as a whole.  By allowing only a Working Group’s “members” to attend and participate in decisions, it means that each group is less accountable to the Organization to which these decisions affect.  The current system only allows outsiders to petition “members” within a Working Group to make changes on their behalf.  This is equal to a Congress that excludes participation to anyone but its own members. OWS is not a “representative” style decision-making system, but a “direct” system open to all to participate in decisions that will affect the community.

Closed meetings may still exist for “planning” of projects or operations, but actual decisions must be made at announced, accessible meetings where everyone could participate.

I would allow a very limited exception for groups working in “clandestine” actions to close meetings related to internal decisions about particular actions.

For example:

If the community wanted to make a change in the policies the Housing Working Group follows, anyone can sit down at an OPEN meeting and voice a concern and participate in the decision process that affects the Housing Working Groups policies.   However, if someone wanted to make a change in the Widget Working Group’s policies, which control distribution of OWS funded widgets and resources, only people who have dedicated themselves to the Widget WG can make those decisions, despite the fact that these policies may affect someone who has dedicated their time to another viable OWS WG such as Kitchen, or Tech Ops, or Media.

In summary, an entire community is held to follow policies that control resources that only a closed clique of individuals may participate in making.  I feel this is contrary to the OPENESS that the Occupy Movement as a whole has made a commitment to support and follow.

Jeff B.

15 Responses to “1/21/2012: Open meetings for all operation decisions”

  1. Sally Marks

    Jeff, I agree for the most part. Transparency is critical. Accurate notes covering every meeting is needed. No one should be excluded from any meeting they wish to attend. In my opinion, the WG team are the ‘go to guys’ for information regarding the group. They should not be the only decision makers. Anyone who wants to attend should be welcomed. Their voice is just as important and anyone else’s.
    If people want to decide to make membership in a WG the only way a person can sit and speak, then I propose to make every self proclaimed member of the OWS automatically a member of every WG.

    • Dallas

      PoI: Just about all WG’s don’t really have a more stringent membership requirement than posting in their forum on this site.

  2. Lopi

    seriously? Who do you work for, Jeff? Pretty clever, now they have you bringing proposals that make it easier for infiltrators to come into our meetings too. I for one, will block this proposal. No friendly amendments. Step back, for god’s sake, have you not enough power?

    • Ravi Ahmad

      wait, you don’t believe in open meetings? Those are kind of important for our movement…

      • Lopi

        we (DAP) have certain meetings which are closed due to security culture. we make important decisions in these meetings. no one else need be in on every decision we make, that affects us and what we are doing for the movement (taking personal risk should be no one else’s decision, we have affinity with each other, trust each other and this is earned). We have open meetings and we have closed meetings. Also, some groups need to have closed meetings because of security concerns, where they definitely ought to continue to be able to make important decisions. They also may require back ground checks for individuals wishing to join their group, for good reason. Already we have had people slip in and rip us off, so we need not be stupid nor fetishsize inclusiveness at the detriment to our own security.
        Is this like the patriot act?

  3. Dallas

    @lopi we don’t really have infiltrators per se, as this requires first a policy of exclusion. We may (probably) have some members who have not been honest with us about their employment or other affiliations.

  4. HoaxCouncil


  5. Sally Marks

    Does anyone really think there is going to be a super spy in Fiber Arts?

  6. anna yamada

    is west park presbyterian a part of ows or is it an independent working group and what funds does it get from ows and is wpp covered by open-0meeting rule? rafael or is it buppy? has doen some secretive sneaky things that violate all kinds of accountabiltiy rulings and expectations in practice and deed and speech. what is teh consequences of secretive bad behavior? anyonew?

  7. sumumba

    I can see the need for this ESPECIALLY when we are talking about kicking folks out of groups but also some meetings need NOT always be so ‘open’..hope we can all find some middle ground here