Democracy in Spokes Council

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

Contact Name: Ashley Love
Working Group: WON- Women Occupying Nations

 Proposal: Democracy in Spokes Council Proposal Process to be voted on Monday, January 30th

This proposal is very simple. Everyone in the OWS community should have the opportunity to participate the democratic process concerning the Spokes Council (SC) proposal voting process. However, due to the pattern of certain Working Groups and individuals not giving proper notice to the OWS community, *all* the Working Groups (WG), Caucuses (CA) and site prior to them putting their proposals to a vote, many community member s, WGs and CAs have expressed feelings of non-transparency, ‘surprise proposals’, irresponsibility, abuse of power, failure to give the community ample time to consider proposals and insensitivity & inconsideration of specific & oppressed communities who would be directly affected by the proposal and their right to take part in the voting process. Proposals with vital and complicated issues are inappropriately being rushed through.

We ask that:

1) – All proposals must be mentioned one meeting before the meeting it is to be voted on so there is sufficient time for community members to take part in an actual democratic process. If someone from the WG or CA is unable to attend the prior meeting, they must inform Facilitation or another WG/CA and ask them to inform the SC of their proposal

2) – All proposals must be posted on the website at least 48 hours prior to them being voted on.

3) – All Working Groups and Caucuses must be notified directly at least 48 hours prior to the proposal being voted on. A system will be arranged where an email can be sent at one time to the listed contact email that each Working Group or Caucus lists on their page at least 48 hours prior to the presentation date. It will take moments for the online-expert WGs to make a quick system where proposals can be sent to each WG or Caucus with a press of  button.

The principles of solidarity and democracy that the Occupy movement stands for asks that we enroll as much community buy-in, responsibility, outreach and collaboration as possible in our voting and proposal process. We feel this proposal will help inspire just that.

The most popular chant on our OWS marches is “Show me what democracy looks! This is what democracy looks like!” In an effort to show the world what real democracy looks like, we must give as many community members, WGs, CAs as possible the chance to be involved.

Ensuring that decisions being made are done so in a just and open process is what our ideals stand for.

12 Responses to “Democracy in Spokes Council”

  1. sumumba

    sounds good to me HOWEVER…posting it on the NET would be best rather than trying to call or emal EVERY point person from a working group..i mean theres over 90 WG’s now…but hey i like the spirit of this one Ash

    • Sean McKeown

      Easy to do – set up an email contact list in the Facilitation WG email that handles proposal-posting, add one extra step that says “email this contact list!” to the posting instructions. :)

  2. Aaron

    I love this proposal so much. We can tweak the details, but something very very close to this is absolutely essential. More notice = more discussion = more ownership = better democracy. Thank you, Ashley.

  3. drew

    I like it, however, section #3 needs more detail and opens up another can of worms.

    HOW will this be done? As it stands this proposal basically says “Tech (or facilitation) will figure out a way to contact all the group point people”

    I don’t like that. Contacting every group via e-mail isn’t something that can just happen as if by magic. A system has to be developed and implemented. Is the proposer offering to bottom line that effort if #3 reaches consensus? While the truth of the matter is that it is NOT a difficult thing to accomplish I, personally, feel that creating tasks for other people/groups isn’t right.

    Taking on a project and outlining your needs and asking the larger group for assistance is the better way to go about this imho.

    Other than that this is great!

    • David Buccola

      Is there a way we could develop to easily contact all working groups? Maybe not something everybody has but the point people within working groups should have that ability. Not sure how it would be done. And it would have to be used sparingly.

      Strike that. I whole heartedly agree with what you said “…creating tasks for other people/groups isn’t right.” I don’t have the knowledge of how to do it but I don’t think it warrants putting another task on tech. You guys rock!

      • Sean McKeown

        Conveniently, the InfoHub requirement for the definition of a working group included contact information. To be a valid working group, you have to have either an email address or phone number set up – I could happily populate a list of contact information for each WG in fifteen minutes, then make a phone call to the person listed in any cases where it is a phone number but not an email address that is listed, to get an email address for contacting that Working Group.

        It’s not a big stumbling block, although it is a valid question whether they intend to do this work or intend for others to be voluntold to do it. That said, if that’s the only stumbling block in the proposal, I’m willing to do the work on Ashley’s behalf even though I don’t think it’s especially necessary that this part pass consensus – if the stumbling point is “how / who” rather than the fundamental “why is this important” I’m willing to step up, as one of the people consulted about supporting this proposal.

    • Trish (99%)


      Has a system been develop and implemented whereby all OWS recognized working groups can have access to posting their business/weekly meeting,etc. in the events section of

      when we attempted to do this a couple mof days ago…
      (NO response, buttons disabled or dead) and when they did…only gave us a window of two minutes for our meeting and automatically posted an incorrect meeting space.

      Apart from this, thanks for all you and your group ensuring that OWS stays up to par while participating in the game (movement).

      Peace & Tech/Ops

  4. Ravi Ahmad

    Hi all,

    So I echo a lot of the supportive sentiments here. Re: part 3, I’m not sure I’m happy with the idea that we have to hound people to check the website when new proposals are coming up. People need to be responsible for their own participation.

    That being said, I’m heartily in favor of the rest of this proposal and my concerns about Part 3 are hardly blocking concerns.

  5. drew

    Friendly Amendment: Please alter the wording, we do not VOTE we build consensus.

    When a proposal is brought before a body it is given to the body to craft into the best possible proposal.