Proposal to Have a Community-Wide Meeting and Dialogue

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

Proposal to Have a Community-Wide Meeting and Dialogue on the following issues we are all grappling with.

-Construction of Hierarchies within OWS

-Access to resources

– Accountability

– Transparency

– Structural and interpersonal dynamics of privilege

We believe our community can grow stronger if we know one another, what resources we each have access to, and how our “groups” are organized.  We believe we can be stronger when we have examined issues of power, leadership, and structures together.

We hope that any member of the OWS community interested in these matters brings their voice to this planning meeting, so we encourage you to send this to anyone who might want to participate.

We want the General Assembly to officially endorse and adopt this meeting and for this meeting to be announced through all the channels available to OWS.


Nicole Carty

Tashy Endres

Marisa Holmes

Lisa Fithian

Jason Ahmadi

Danielle Watson



13 Responses to “Proposal to Have a Community-Wide Meeting and Dialogue”

  1. Sally Marks

    “Construction of Hierarchies within OWS” – Seriously?.
    Read this:
    “Occupy Wall Street is a people’s movement. It is party-less, leaderless, by the people and for the people. It is not a business, a political party, an advertising campaign or a brand. It is not for sale.”
    Get past that and the rest, well it is being worked on though more impetus is always welcome.

  2. Darrell Prince

    I think the discussion is overdue; there are inherent hierarchies with regards to resource disbursement, knowledge and aptitude. Control of resources is power, and working the systems that control the resources. There is also inherently more power for those talented in networking, which I would say is more important in this movement and in general than actual experience/reason.

    • Dallas

      Education is power. That’s why I always say I’m willing to teach anyone in OWS anything I can do if they are willing to learn.

      We do need to be conscious of the tendency toward hierarchies that comes with some people having a better grasp of the local language (in our case American English), better grasp of mathematics, tech skills, art skills, etc. and try to skill-share as much as is feasible.

      This should be a great discussion.

        • Dallas

          You being direct and literal, Darrell? Or do you mean “what can you do” in the “it is what it is” sense? I have some ideas, it’s mostly time I lack. :)

  3. Lucas Bimson

    I don’t quite know what to think on this. When I have been in New York and attending things in person it all seems far more clear and transparent. Online, much less so and with that I can at least say there needs to be more concrete transparency on the website. I won’t say more than that because I simply haven’t been in New York for a sustained period since October and can’t speak well on the day to day meetings and discussions had in physical spaces.

  4. Steve Scher

    Communty wide meeting and dialoge …by the do you mean :Face to face communication which is more likely to result in a faster paced synergy, rather than here where you can’t tell if I’m smiling (yes), frowning(no),sober(yes) or if I really am a bunny ( not gonna say ).

    So any call for that type of communication is potentially movement in a positive direction.

    If the same type of interaction touching upon the points mentioned above could occur simultaneously with a meeting occurring as a face to face with a additional specific purpose, whether how to produce the largest peace symbol ever in existence composed of people only( photographed from the air) , or to organize a day ( or more ) of light, music,joy in central park ( let’s call it occupalooza : ) …meeting with a purpose and as a subtext use the dynamics to create real situations which then can be understood as a group along the lines of the suggested proposal….two birds one stone ( ouch…sorry birds ).

    I have on a separate note, wondered as to the feasibility of conducting massive group therapy for all members…….


  5. Sally Marks

    Darrell, I do agree, there appears to be ‘inherent hierarchies’. OWS states this is something it is against.

    Participants who either feel that perhaps they are viewed as a leader or those that others view as a leader should immediately do the responsible thing and step aside (this does not mean quit or leave, just not be “the voice”), requesting a new person. They really should not have to be told.
    All WG have a minimum of five people, so a rotation among the group should not be a problem. Similar rotations are already being done at Spokes for this very reason. The beauty of rotation is transparency as the message, if valid, should be unwavering. It also ensures all get a chance to speak. No one can sit in the back telling people what to do, no one can take the front seat all the time, marginalizing those who are not as brazen. If a person is uncomfortable with taking the lead for a period (some people prefer to work over orate), all they have to do is state that and the rotation would go to the next person.

  6. Urbaned

    @sallyarks When you say “step aside,” you mean from the position of power? Let’s put it this way, in an “I-Thou” scenario (Martin Buber) every interchange has an “I-Thou,” with one person appearing dominant and the other passive. (As you get older, you realize that your ideas on who may have the power changes….). In OWS, we all desperately want to be heard. This is exactly how it was/is in my own dysfunctional family. There was one day when we were all fighting when the light came on and I realized that there was enough abundance all around us…and we were fighting over nothing!

    Differentiated instruction is an educational term that means each of us has a unique gift to be nurtured. We have to LISTEN to the other person to recognize the gift.

    I am elated because I believe that many of the issues we are not approaching border on psychology and, dare I say, spirituality. Those are issues that were not included in the massive meltdown by nefarious bankers, etc. in the old, crumbling society we are now facing.

    Let’s try to be humble and go beyond ourselves, even one little step. That’s how to make the world a better place.

    • Sally Marks

      Theoretically, Not one person in OWS has more power than another. In theory.

      If a person is in a leadership role (like a spoke facilitator), they are looked on for answers. Which is not a bad thing. But they should not be the only person with the answers. In this end, as soon as a person is perceived as a leader (this can happen as soon as it is apparent that when some asks a question, they always get referred to the other person for the answer), they need to let someone else run point.

      For example, the last few weeks, on Haywood responded to any questions from Finance. Now it is Christine. I imagine that a few weeks from now, someone else will do it. My point being is any and all of the people in Finance should respond. Some never ever respond and I know they are aware they have had questions directed at them.

      Everyone needs to participate equally. It is wrong to ignore or deflect a question that pertains to something all of OWS has a stake in. Having a single spokesperson just does not fly.