Defining “Operations” Groups for the Spokes Council

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

In short this proposal is to change the definition of “operational” working groups such that any “official” working group (all working groups which fit the guidelines set out by InfoHub’s 12/20 GA proposal) is an operational group.

In our view InfoHub’s proposal indirectly solved the problem of deciding over operational/movement groups, which moreover has been the main structural (as opposed to socio-cultural) problem plaguing spokescouncil since it began way back in October, in one form or another. What this proposal aims to do is make manifest InfoHub’s implicit solution of moving this problem from SC to GA, that is, by changing the distinction from between operational/movement (which is now irrelevant insofar as it is based on us living in a park) to the distinction between OWS working groups and unrecognized/unofficial affinity groups.

In our view this finally makes clear the purpose of spokescouncil itself: a venue for OWS working groups to check each other’s direct budgetary access to our communal pool of money (as opposed to anyone’s ability to indirectly access it via a GA proposal).

24 Responses to “Defining “Operations” Groups for the Spokes Council”

  1. David Buccola

    I don’t understand why we would do this. How, for instance, is Class War operational? There’s a pretty clear commonality amongst the “operational working groups” at this point. If Kitchen, Minutes, Facilitation, Deescalation etc don’t do their job, Occupy Wall Street stops “operating.” I think the distinction is useful. The distinction between operational/movement isn’t irrelevant.

    • jillturnerart

      I think the main concern that inspired group elimination was that it’s difficult to find one’s way through all those groups on line.
      I want to propose that NYCGA web site create group categories to make it easier to search groups.
      I think it’s fine to remove groups that are operating out of Ohio which is the example Ravi used when she made her proposal to the G.A.
      But to remove groups that are working as ardently as any other OWS group is destructive.

      It makes for sense to categorize groups according to functions. I propose we do this.

      Human Resource Development has categories which relate to functions.

      Would anyone fromTech-Ops be interested in exploring this with me?

      Please forward this to others who might be interested.

      • Ravi Ahmad

        Hey Jill,

        On the groups page, you’ll see a button for a tag cloud that allows people to sort groups by what they’re interested in. Its a way for groups to self-identify their interests rather than have them imposed from outside. That would be a proposal to GA.


  2. Lopi

    would you consider DAP to be operational? “direct action painters” (we make banners, signs and posters for outreach around the city)
    I am asking, essentially, if people think art is a key function to getting our message out there and if so, is a group dedicated to this task considered operational?

  3. Christine

    Archives – the working group collecting the ephemera of the movement and the digital trace of the movement..
    We would like to be considered operational..

    • Marsha

      Fiber Arts would also like to be considered an operations working group. When we sit in the park and knit we talk to an extraordinary amount of people who otherwise would not show interest if we were not there. The spending freeze has hampered our efforts more than the weather.

  4. Ravi Ahmad

    Hey guys,

    I really like the clarity this proposal seeks to bring to what Spokes is for, I totally agree with the last line of the proposal.

    However, one thing we discussed at the Financial Assembly a few weeks ago is that operational groups- those that deal with logistics- are a specific kind of group. For instance, they have different structural needs in terms of funding. I would say that in order for a group to propose a recurring budget rather than an action specific one, they would need to be an operational group.

    While I’m not convinced that Spokes should only be for Operational Groups, I do think that groups like DAP, Archives and others should be allowed to be indicted as such and that there needs to be a space for us to discuss our stuff. Maybe coordinators meetings at a more humane time than 10am?

    Looking forward to discussing this further tonight! Well, once we know where meeting is actually happening… :)


    • Trish OWS


      It is clear, accessable and understood by EVERYONE!

      Exactly what we need as this time as a movement to move FORWARD!

      The Financial Assembly a few weeks ago….are there minutes? I was there but, but I can’t recall…

      Peace & Clarity

      • Sean McKeown

        No, Trish, you weren’t at that meeting, she is referring to the one this past Saturday at which you were not present.

        I believe you would have to ask Jason Ahmadi, the proposer of the spending freeze, whether he took minutes.

    • Trish OWS

      I don’t believe it…

      Where is Spokes….we don’t call time out because a space cannot be found!


      Spokes is proving to be it’s own worst enemy, and I sincerely hope everyone in the “spokes huddle” begin to realize that the problem/the hurdle, really is…they’re attempting to create a hierarchy within a horizontal based movement.

      We’ll all operational groups within the Occupy movement…AND, Spokes you too are in the Occupy movement on the exact horizontal field as us all.

      Get with the Occupation, or get out of the the Occupations’ way.

      Peace & Where is Spokes!

      • drew

        Spokes is simply about math.

        If you have 100 people at a meeting, and a 100 minutes to meet each person only has 1 minute to speak. BUT if you have 5 groups of 20 you give everyone 5 minutes to speak.

        Please stop trying to pidgin hole people by using terms like “spokes huddle”.

        Allow me to flip the “anti-spokes clique’s” argument on it’s head. Spokes (as I see it) seeks to provide the groups that make up OWS a space to coordinate in a transparent manner. Currently the way decisions get made is through GA (where individuals do not have a lot of time/space to add to the conversation) or in small groups, over e-mails, or through interpersonal COMPLETELY UN-TRANSPARENT means. So anyone who is against spokes is AGAINST including more people’s voices, is against transparency, and is against horozontalizm.

        Let’s figure out how to make our movement inclusive and equitable rather than celebrating when other people make mistakes and fail.

        • Dallas

          Agreed. I wasn’t a big fan of the idea of Spokes being off-site when we had the camp, but now I see that you are correct. The only thing that should be keeping anyone from knowing *exactly* what goes on at Spokes if they want to know is lack of access to this site and/or Twitter… so I’m not sure why anyone here or on Twitter would complain about a lack of transparency.

          I still don’t attend, mostly because the scheduling is bad for me, but I don’t see a reason to ban anything.

    • comrade zak

      i agree on your facts but not on your conclusions.

      yes there are multiple groups that have, as you put it, different “structural needs” in terms of funding, but i would argue that this is a result of imperfections in our system, not because of legitimate reasons.

      that is to say, the effective existence of OWS’s funding system (not its technical existence, where much of the information i’m about to mention is most likely available in certain forms, though not collated as such) is that certain groups get funds outside of proposal-specific sums, which the vast majority of the people involved in the “association” that is OWS are unaware of and have no influence in.

      insofar as i think that OWS, as a whole, should be able to influence such situations, not just the working group involved (for example, as far as I’m aware, the main influences on, say, Kitchen’s budget has been Kitchen and perhaps Accounting). working groups should have to bring their budgets to spokescouncil on a, perhaps, month-by-month basis as opposed to the current system, in which they seem simply to get it (perhaps depending on whether or not they’re part of the “operational” list that’s been generated thus far, spending freeze notwithstanding). and, of course, in line with my proposal, i think that many more working groups (to take the obvious example, Class War Camp) should be able to participate in these discussions than, I assume, you do.

      to me this is just as much about information as (democratic/political) influence–that is to say, i think the notion of requiring working groups to regularly present their budgets at spokescouncil is as important purely in terms of transparency as in the notion that other working groups should subsequently be able to influence these budgets (in the form of friendly amendments, of course). (to be clear i have no intention of including this requirement in the proposal tomorrow/later today. in my view this proposal is a stepping-stone towards reshaping spokescouncil in a venue for working groups to work together transparently in order to utilize our communal fund to survive and, you know, to win.)

      finally, i’m confused (or, rather, intrigued) by some of where you’re going with this. you say that DAP, Archives, and other groups should be “indicted as such,” (implicitly as non-operational or movement groups) and i’m not quite sure what this means, though it seems to be opposed to the “us” and “our stuff” which occurs later in that paragraph. what exactly would be the difference between spokescouncil meetings and coordinatiors meeting (occurring at a different time) insofar as you seem to implicitly endorse these two things occuring simultaneously?

      • Ravi Ahmad

        Hey Zak,

        So I was definitely unclear. I’m totally cool with all working groups being in Spokes. I think its important that budget oversight be as wide as possible. Coordinators, which has no mvt-wide decision making power, is usually an operational groups thing and might be the place for Op groups to collaborate. We do that now but I think there’s a lot more that could happen if Spokes and GA were more functional.

        Also, want to collaborate on next steps. If you guys are interested, pvt message me your email and I’ll share you on my notes. Or I’ll bring a copy to Spokes tonight and harass you with my enthusiasm :)

  5. Trish OWS



    Unheard of..

    Peace & Clarity

    • drew

      Yeah, it’s like a small group of over worked and constantly disrespected people missed one shot out of a hundred.

    • David Buccola

      Just curious, what have you ever done to help acquire space for Spokes Council meetings?

  6. Patrick Conway

    Totally agree. Spokes should not be an occasion to create and enforce a hierarchy among the working groups. They should all be represented equally.

    Good lookin’ out, Class War!!!

    • Ravi Ahmad

      Oh sure, ixnay on the hierarchy among groups. But structure isn’t necessarily hierarchy, nor does recognizing difference imply or require hierarchy.

      • Patricia L

        Agreed. Structure doesn’t necessitate hierarchy. Hence, non-hierarchical structure…

  7. Victor Wooddell

    Hi everyone. Not being physically located in NY, but trying my best to contribute on-line, is there a category for a group that doesn’t need any budget, doesn’t need to participate in decision making, but does need to report back to someone occassionally because what they do might have some impact on the movement as a whole. “Think Tank” might be one example.