Proposal to end spokes and the GA

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

Proposal to end spokes and the GA
Proposer: Justin Samuels
I propose that we end both spokes council and the GA for several reasons.
First and foremost, Occupy Wall Street claims to be a horizontal movement.  If it is a horizontal movement, then we don’t need a spokes council (with spokes/representatives) or a General Assembly making decisions for us.  We should be empowered to make decisions on whatever projects we want to.   Spokes and the General Assembly are a recreation of the US Congress, without the judicial and executive branches to check the legislative branches power.
Both spokes and the GA have completely screwed over the most vulnerable occupiers.  Spokes showed how at a whim it could just end a housing program for occupiers.  Essentially people were thrown to the wolves by this decision.  Both bodies have shown a complete disregard for marginalized voices such as the mentally ill or homeless.  Violence has broken out not just because disruptors are bad, but the total disregard of body itself for certain voices has triggered some conflicts.  Even the downtwinkles and hand rollings are totally rude and disrespectful, even more so for those who may have difficulty communicating.
Back when we had the park, when there was no spokes (we had working groups and the GA), much of the world in OWS was done by individuals who educated the public as the walked by.  It was done by activists who spoke to the media, sharing OWS with the world.  A secret organization like spokes does NOTHING for OWS in terms of public relations.  As neither body is functional, both OWS and Spokes are an embarrassment to the movement.   If the GA and Spokes were placed on CNN news regularly, we’d look like a bunch of barbarians who belong on television.
Ending spokes and the GA would not hamper the movement at all.  Individuals and working groups could still work on their projects.  In fact as both the spokes and GA absorb time from events or projects that occupiers could be working on, freeing up this time would help rejuvenate the movement.   Spokes council meetings in particular take people away from downtown Manhattan, and this divides the movement.
Also, both the spokes council and the general assembly foster dependence.  Activists who are fighting against the system and against laws they consider injustice shouldn’t submit to a new system with equally oppressive structures (out of control legislative process)

268 Responses to “Proposal to end spokes and the GA”

  1. DirekConek (aka Dallas)

    They might be dressed better, but I bet a lot of meetings at Barclay’s, JP Morgan, etc. wouldn’t look great on TV either.

    Speaking of which, pretty much every Spokes and GA is streamed, tweeted, or both and has been for a while.

    • Monica McLaughlin

      We areare supposed toto be fighting those folks– not emulating them.

      • sumumba

        and yes we are doing just that Monica and worse….i dont recall a ‘fight’ breaking out on any senate floors or people getting head butted in the house….smdh

    • jason ugenti

      I new the spoks was a bad idea from the start but GA is the thing that is holding this movement back process is bad and useless

  2. Justin Samuels

    Streamed and tweeted, yes, but not shown on a major media platform such as CNN. I tend to assume people don’t assault other people at meetings at Barclay’s. Having worked in banks before, they do have security and no qualms about calling the police if needed. Banks do have strict procedures against violence, among other illegal acts among employees. Someone would be fired for coming up to another employee and punching him, and it would leave the bank open to a lawsuit (for failing to provide a reasonably safe environment for its employees)

    • Sean McKeown

      Bank policies about illegal acts among employees presently are… “that’s the policy!”

      Welcome to Occupy Wall Street.

  3. DirekConek (aka Dallas)

    All valid input, Justin. I don’t think the answer is abolishing meetings though.

    • Trish OWS

      Community,

      I spoke with Justin last night and this may be a case of another

      stake-holder becoming disillusioned with what OWS has shown itself to be within

      the last 4-6 weeks.

      This ia all demoralizing for many, and many are truly upset with those who

      positioned themselves as overseers of the occupation.

      We really need to get back to the OWS foundation that was established

      September 2011.

      We should hold suspect and seriously question, listen, and debate, anyone or

      anything that attempts to change, delete, or disparge those pillars of the

      Occupation.

      Trish

      • Cynthia Price

        Spokes needs to be dissolved or no decisions made there at all, or at the very least a report of any decisions made. Am I the only one that gets the Spokes council people being the most Hostile and vocal at every G.A. to anyone who proposes anything to forward the movement or proposing Action. And if something does pass they marginalize or ignore it. Seriously folks go to a Spokes, AND FOR THE UNEMPLOYED, THEY HAVE THE BEST SPREAD OF FOOD I HAVE SEEN

        • Trish OWS

          Cynthia,

          You’re not alone.

          And, recently at a Spokes 02/13/12, there was a

          proposal regarding the serving of food during their

          meetings.

          Also, the distribution of metrocards.

          But, most of their venues have not been safe spaces.

          Be prepared for anything…

  4. Justin Samuels

    And please tell me why a horizontal movement needs scheduled meetings of governing bodies? Again, this is a recreation of the legislative branch of government without any other branches to provide checks and balances. Spokes and the GA are so much about the process that activism and even common sense take second place.

    • sumumba

      shows that this isnt a ‘horizontal’ movement at all…and maybe it shouldnt pretend to be….but then again why cant we create something that’s horizontal (or not) and a governing body of the people…why does it have to be either or? why throw continually the baby out with the bathwater? Sure we dont like our current ‘governing’ body in america..but how much more functional is the one we’ve created?

      • Justin Samuels

        For that matter, if occupy is a horizontal movement, no one should be required to get on stack. Many of the fights break out in the GA because someone feels that they have something important to say, and they get silenced by facilitation or others. So quite clearly this isn’t a movement where everyone is equal, and its processes are at times a lot more inflexible than the mainstream society or government.

    • Trish OWS

      OCCUPY, has prove to NOT BE an horizonatal movement.

      It’s true many if not all disruptions have been because or associated with

      those who felt their voice was not permitted by others,

      the facilitators (only attempt,to follow a FLAWEd process).

      The greater part of the OWS Community realizes that the direction of the

      movement has been directed to a great extent by low level lieutenant with an

      the agenda of unknown origin…nevertheless,

      They are sustained within the movement to carry out a mission…

      The only entity that can “CLOCK” their agenda is the 99% and the

      New York City General Assembly

      True activist know there will always be growing pains/confrontations/policy and

      mandate issues within any people-based protest collective.

      OWS, has to accept the fact that there are those who may have had an agenda which only include them up to a point.

      And, know that fact of the matter is the General Assembly continues to be the

      heart and primary decision making body of the movement. (No one in their right

      mind cuts out it’s pumping station.

      What we as a movement need to do is view the actions of Spokes Council since it was empowered by the General Assembly.

      Review how it went about it’s business of becoming operational.

      How it has reacted to OWS WGs, since January 20,2012

      And, what we know know of the part it wishes to assume with several Wall Street

      monied Affinity Groups which became known to the OWS community as a after

      thought.

      Community we need to meet and dissect what moves continue to be made to re-draw

      the lines of this movement to possibly become something that truly does not

      represent to aspirations of the 99%.

      NYCGA Council meets Monday @ The Atrium, 60 Wall Street, 7:15 pm

      • sumumba

        just for argument’s sake…if OWS is indeed ‘Leaderless’ and ‘Horizontal’..then perhaps we need to try something else

      • Frances MA

        Trish please take a deep breath and stop listening to the voices in your head. I know this is hard but you need to hear this. THERE IS NO NYCGA COUNCIL. You made up a working group love. You just plum made it up. It’s not real. You need to let it go. You don’t speak for the GA. The voices in your head don’t speak for the GA. You really need to talk to your doctor. I am not certain that OWS is a healthy environment for you. Do you have family? Do they know your whereabouts? I think you need to step away and take some time to help yourself. I’m being serious here. Please put your mental health as your priority.

        • sumumba

          whoa^ too deep Francis…wasn’t sure to laugh or shake my head or cry…alotta truth in your words…

        • Cynthia Price

          Hmmm Frances she has some really good points about the Spokes Council. The rest I dont get. But Spokes needs to be revewed, and how they try to discredit anyone who questions them. I assume Frances your a Spokes council Hipster who things this movement is about you and your hipster friends? “Community”(at least i didnt say you need mental health way out of line)

          • Trish OWS

            Hi Cynthia,

            Of course they were good points, points that should

            be discussed, but if broched, it’s taboo.

            Don’t know this individual (Frances ?), but, for

            sure, she has a mission, whatever.

            it’s not about me, it’s not about the WG’s, it’s about

            the 99% and the Occupy movement.

            Stay focus community, someone must be rubbing

            someone(body) the wrong way.

            Solidarity

        • Cynthia Price

          Hmmm Frances validated my post from days ago that anyone who tries to question SpokesCouncil gets Oppressed, Discredited, etc. Trish has some really good points about the Spokes Council. The rest I dont get. But Spokes needs to be reveiwed, and how they try to discredit anyone who questions them. I see Frances did exactly that to Trish so I assume Frances your a Spokes council Hipster who things this movement is about you and your hipster “Community” At least i didnt say you need mental health and SpokesCouncil seems to be so self centered, non Transparent, and forget people are here to change the world not be a witness to the brooklyn spokes hipster social life, as that would be out of line as saying someone needs mental health.

          • Frances MA

            Do you even know Trish Cynthia? My post was serious. Trish is seriously unbalanced. Ask anyone who has attended any of the meetings with her over the past 6 months. I am a “spokes council hipster”? What does that even mean?

          • Sean McKeown

            I think you are putting the cart before the horse here, Cynthia. And making wild conjecture instead of reasoned observations.

        • Trish OWS

          FYI: To Be Spread Far and Wide…

          The New York City General Assembly Council

          (Working Group) , is an Occupy Wall Street (OWS)

          officially recognized entity, since December 7, 2011 and

          domiciled at nycga.net, in the company of other OWS

          entities, (working groups, affinity groups, etc.)

          NYCGA Council is a membership (Members) WG,

          meetings are held, minutes are posted (nycga.net).

          Our groups’ mission statement can be found on the

          groups’ web page at nycga.net

          The 99%, stake-holders in the Occupy movement.

          The power of the people will never be defeated!

          • Trish OWS

            Spokes Council Hipster

            (Brooklyn Spokes Hipster Lifestyle)

            Interesting, indeed.

        • Bob

          Francis, I don’t know either of you but whether Trish is in fact “sick” your remarks are uncalled for and offensive. If you have a problem with what she said, talk to those points please. Don’t attack the messenger. Thank you.

          • Frances MA

            I’m not attacking her Bob. I’m acknowledging what many of us on the ground have known for a very long time. Trish is not a well woman. If you had any contact with her you would know that. But feel free to paint me as the bad guy here. I can take it. I honestly hope that Trish seeks help for her health and for the health of all of us who encounter her on the ground. And @cynprice if Trish reports the “truth” as you state below then I am Lieutenant Frances. You’re all under arrest.

        • David Everitt-Carlson

          Trish is just a lost soul looking for something to lead (husbands seem to have left the fold). Leave the ‘doctoring’ to real doctors – or say it to her face if you have the balls…

          • Cynthia Price

            @ahbinyc Did you know no reporters will report on Monsanto as they will be Oppressed, called liars or crazy, which is why you wont see any Reporters discussing Monsanto on this huge issue. A reporter tries to share their views on the powertripped Monsanto (who donates individually to each Congressman) and they get ripped/fired/etc. I dont know @Trish, but I see a correlation. She seems to report truth against this people who have a facade that they are the POWER in this movement, and they all attack viciously. Just sayin….

          • Cynthia Price

            @ahbinyc not even sure of the discussioin but not having met you or @trish, your comments only ensured that anything you say in the future, i would take coming from a real dark unevolved sould….i would never ever, talk like that about anyone

  5. DirekConek (aka Dallas)

    Justin, there is some merit to what you say about the legislative branch, except I believe that more fitting analogy would be the Constitutional Convention. We haven’t really created or empowered *anything* more specialized than working groups at this point. It doesn’t mean we never will, nor does that mean that the answer is to stop having a forum to come to agreements among large groups of Occupiers whatsoever.

  6. Nathan Leigh

    The GA is an exercise in direct democracy. As such it is bound to be messy, and at times ugly. It is impossible to give everyone a voice without giving EVERYONE a voice, including people who seek to dissolve the central organizational structures of the movement, including people who seek to discredit or destroy the movement (I’m not suggesting the OP is at all anti-OWS, I’m just providing extreme examples). Spokes needs reformation, that much is clear. I stopped going out of frustration a long time ago, but the idea of having a body that allows Working Groups to interface and communicate is a strong one, and is a real need within the movement. It would be so easy to dissolve the GA because a few people are unhappy with how it works, but like with everything with OWS, if you’re unhappy with how something is working, get in there and try to fix it yourself. The hard work of making the GA better, stronger, more inclusive, and more functional is less sexy and less exciting, but the long-term rewards will be higher. Both for the movement in NYC and maybe even for the rest of the country. Sumumba said it well. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater here.

    • sumumba

      YES ..YES…NATHAN…i’d like to see a MORE educated GA and all members of OWS…the GA has dissolved into immature idea loges and egos that will approve or block anything that doesnt fit their sense of justice…that being said i’ve never blocked ANYTHING or even stood aside at a GA when i saw that everyone else wanted it con sensed up …i’ve always felt that was a SERIOUS ego trip and NOT about movement building or unity at all…i’ve also never been in a movement that didn’t have a education department that u needed to go and grow through before u could even make decisions…the assumption that we all want the ‘same’ thing is as ludicrous as us thinking that their are not agents and or theives among us who mean us and our movement no good…

      • Justin Samuels

        And what you’ve said is why I believe GA and spokes could be dissolved. People often aren’t educated on issues, as you’ve said, and there are certainly agents and thieves that are out to sabotage good ideas.

        Common sense also gets lost when people care more about arcane OWS processes rather than the morality of an idea or an action.

        And you’re right about the ego trips as well. But unfortunately there is nothing to check that in the current GA or Spokes. Its such a mess it needs to be abolished. After it is, if occupy is truly horizontal, then we don’t need leaders. If we do need leaders, we can work on getting a clear, leadership structure with qualified, and as you said, educated leaders.

        • Trish OWS

          OWS Community,

          Some individuals would not dare comment on the Spokes

          model in a truthful sense and how it has had a negative

          impact on the General Assembly, OWS.

          (It’s difficult to confront)

          It’s sad, and says mountains about oppression within

          OWS and the fact, there are proposals to make this

          type of oppression a policy within Spokes Council

          (TO SHUN).

          We have stake-holders whose very livilhood depends on

          what, they say, write, defend and advocate for, here on

          nycga.net

          Solidarity

          • Sean McKeown

            Actually, Trish, that proposal was before the General Assembly and thus for consideration movement-wide, not “just” for Spokes Council. If you actually inquired with a clarifying question or interjected with a concern instead of getting on stack to look at me and say nothing, that could have been neatly clarified.

            It was noted at the time that the reason for this was pretty clear, and the need for it more pressing as the potential for a re-encampment appeared. Well, ta-da, we have an encampment! And thus may want to know that if there’s someone whom we should not be letting stay there, we share that information and act on it as a group… out in the open and in a clearly democratic fashion.

            Instead you decided it was a targeted attack against yourself, and instead of listening or discussing, jumped right to feeling disappointed when you didn’t get to block. A fact which would not have surprised you if you’d been listening, as it was agreed upon via friendly amendment fifteen minutes before that the proposal would be tabled to await translation.

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      <3 Thank you!

      To me, one of the keys to OWS is to start running toward problems to fix them, not away from them because they make us angry and uncomfortable.

      • Justin Samuels

        I’d love to hear any ideas you have on fixing these problems, Dallas. You know mine, or at least some of them.

    • Monica McLaughlin

      There is nothing democratic about the way the GA operates. It is exclusive, not inclusive and it operates using intimidation to control outcomes. Most people will not subject themselves to public humiliation of apparticipating even if they could actually manage to get there thus those who make it vote themselves all sorts of perks — just like members of congress do.

      • sumumba

        I’m with u Monica…except ‘democracy’ in the GA sense is a very corrupted thing…just like in congress…we have conflated egos and hard core ideologies that don’t care about movement building or only as much as they see ‘movement building’ …just like in congress and the senate…most people dont even participate in its structures and those who do are NOT educated or wise enough to make decisions that positively affect others..

        • Justin Samuels

          The other thing I want to discuss about the GA and Spokes is the inherit bias. Three people were banned by spokes from spokes and occupy housing. Nan, Will, and Michael. Two of them were black, one was homeless. Nan and Will were critical of the way OWS operated.

          Yet when articulate white guys who have better relations with the majority punch people, they don’t get kicked out. This is favoritism and tyranny of the majority!

          • Nathan Leigh

            Justin, that’s a totally legit point, and we do need to be making sure we deal with all disruptors equally and fairly. Though admittedly I have no legal or social work background so I have no idea how to do that. But you’re 100% right that the bias exists, is messed up, and needs to be fixed ASAP.

          • sumumba

            that’s about the most BUNK thing i’ve heard u say Justin…wow FIRST of all i was there when Will stole a metrocard from housing and then punched someone and then knocked over a table of food and a computer all at the Brecht Forum…he was NOT entitled to a metro and me and Ronny Nunez two people of ‘color’ were in line waiting and witnesses to that…second of all Nan are u serious? This is someone who has chased folks with knives threatened others thrown punches at other people of color … as for Micheal…well he has a track record from here to Philly ask around hes NOT only been violent and threatened but has stolen and i witnessed him for myself using office supplies he wasnt authorized too…hes been kicked out of Occupy Philly and several WG’s as a result…bro…i’ve seen u getting eating dinner but i must ask do u attend any spokes or GA’s because if u did u would not be stating what u did before ..unless u r ‘working’ with them and like to see disruptors and violent folks continue to destroy our GA’s and Spokes..

          • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

            No, Justin, that’s a result of no one bringing a prop to ban Jeff. I kind of feel like we should defer to Dicey since he’s the one who got punched…. but not really my call.

            Nan threatened a lot of people with violence and death, several times. I honestly don’t feel like anyone needs to justify banning Nan again.

            Will actually committed an act of violence with quite a few witnesses. The person that ended up on the other end of the chair chose to do something about it. Dicey didn’t….

          • Justin Samuels

            @sumumba I’m working with all people to achieve justice. No, I do not want to see the GA’s and spokes continue to get disrupted. With that said, there have been other people who punched people, in some cases repeatedly and they don’t get banned. Its also dependent on who’s at the GA when the proposal is presented and how they feel about the person.

            For the record, I personally do not want Jeff banned. With that said, since people are so quick to want Nan banned, yet they aren’t quick to ban others who hit people. And I’m not even talking about Jeff there. Sage has hit people on more than once. Yet he isn’t going to be banned, as he wasn’t perceived as being as antagonistic as Nan. On an ongoing basis various drunks disrupt the GA and threaten people, as recently as Tuesday. Yet there is no call to ban these guys. Was it because they were white drunks, AND because they weren’t making the accusations of Nan and Michael?

            I am not going to say Nan and Michael were necessarily in the right, but I am going to say they were hated more than other people who have thrown punches and threatened people. The person who presented the proposal to ban Nan was not punched by her. He just hated her and the proposal was accepted because everyone else did too.

            And my problem with that is if you are liked or at least hated less than Nan, you quite clearly will not be banned. People will make up all kinds of excuses on why there is no proposal to ban you. But violence is violence ,and we should have consistency. If Nan, Will, and Michael can be banned for violence, everyone who commits an act of violence (unless its self defense) should be banned.

            And I’m not going to propose that because I’m very uncomfortable with banning unless there is assault or rape. I was at spokes when there was the vote to ban Will (I got their late). I voted with the rest of the room in favor of the ban, because everyone was so horrified by what had happened (I wasn’t there but I took the word of people I trusted). Looking back on it, it set a very dangerous precedent, because now Sean is trying to pass his Exclusion Principle. He’s said he’s even open to people being banned for blocking excessively (how many blocks is excessive). I’m afraid more and more unpopular people will be banned, while more popular people will get away with more stuff.

          • David Everitt-Carlson

            Jeff’s just an asshole. We don’t need a proposal to understand that. His girlfriend figured it out pretty quick.

          • Sean McKeown

            I said I was open to the General Assembly deciding where the line was, instead of dictating where that line was myself – there is a major difference between my saying “y’all figure out for yourself and consent where you see fit” and “I’ll happily accept your friendly amendment, because it is in keeping with my nefarious goals”.

            I would suggest the discussion of Jeff and Sage’s violence at GA would be the appropriate proposal and/or discussion item for you to be presenting. This is a do-ocracy, it gets done if you do it yourself. Telling me you think it’s unfair that I haven’t done it, when I focus on a LOT of things and get about half of them done at best these days, is just going to get your complaint moved back to the bottom of the pile and me asking why it is, exactly, that I am such an “authority figure” to you that you want me to do it instead of you to do it… or even you to ask DiceyTroop how he feels about addressing the matter of dealing with the person who punched him.

            Also, point of information: I don’t hate Nan. The feeling of general disinterest, however, seems not to be mutual, as her “Sean go suck a dick” comments on the forums here seem to attest.

      • Cynthia Price

        What were Nan’s and Michaels Accusations? Just wondering. 2 people were screaming and stopped the G.A. last Monday, both disruptive, but everything they said, although yelling, was true.

    • Drew

      Amen Nathan, excellent point! I do think the GA and human mic has been a very organic and important component of OWS which attracted thousands of people to the movement. And without any central organs, OWS won’t be able to build as a movement. I don’t get it, do people think that OWS should continue as just hundreds of separate cluster groups all working on different issues and with different agendas. That was already happening before OWS. Throughout history there have been no successful revolutions that were not HIGHLY organized, with central organizing/ governing bodies (although these groups were usually elected/ selected by their organizations/ masses or were well respected by the masses) We should work to make the GA’s better, more revolutionary, with white folks steppin back more to follow the leadership of black and Latino folks, as well as working class/ poor folks.

      • Urbaned

        MRG just offered money to OWS. Any black and Latino folks apply? The reason I asked is that it feels like a typical funding scheme (1%?).

        • sumumba

          as Opposed to our magnificent ‘funding’ scheme Urbaned which has nearly bankrupted us?

        • Trish OWS

          Urbaned,

          You’re on the money. Not hood-winked!

          (It is what it is…)

          The scheme (swindle) was the one-hundred dollar a

          day stipend for WG’s (accidental), while hundred’s of

          thousands became seed money for other initiatives

          (Affinity Groups).

          BANKRUPTED! A buzz word, only.

          NOT BANKRUPTED, far from it… typical 1%, Wall Steet

          Mind-set , within OWS.

          SOLIDARITY

        • Monica McLaughlin

          Race wasn’t a required or optional field on the application.

          • Urbaned

            You’ve had 53 years of experience being white, Monica. Empathy is letting go of ego and putting yourself in another’s shoes.

        • Monica McLaughlin

          @urbaned, please stop judging me. It is very weird. We do not know if any thoughts minorities applied to MRG because race was not on the form. Period. Do not read anything into that. You asked a question -Did any minorities apply. I answered. Period. My being White is irrelevant.

          • sumumba

            Urbaned and Monica …cut it out…you are both friends of mine..we all have to take time to LISTEN more…in this case i can assure you that BOTH of you are the same of the issue…let’s give it and us time to get closer to that issue and move this movement fwd…

          • Urbaned

            That’s OK, Sumumba – we’re just keeping each other honest!

    • Cynthia Price

      We really need to get to the U.N. at least for an hour of silence for the tortured in Syria and to Monsanto. The G.A. and Spokes keeps us from the serious stuff we are here to do.

      • Trish OWS

        Cynthia,

        Until we get our house in order, we won’t be in a position

        to address the economic injustices we organized around.

        And, until we undress the people we are lying down with,

        (monied affinity groups) we are exposed and open to our

        mission being compromised.

        PLAIN AND SIMPLE…

      • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

        PoI: we’ve been doing sit-ins at the Syrian mission to the UN for a while now. It’s on the calendar.

  7. Justin Samuels

    I’m not throwing the baby out with the bath water. Again, if this is a horizontal movement, everyone is empowered to do everything. Therefore, there should be no need for consensus from a GA. If someone from occupy wants to hold a fundraiser, they should be able to do it period. If someone from occupy wants to organize a rally or march, let them. I’ve seen the GA a number of time oppress good ideas. We’re activists. We don’t come here to live under the oppression of a new government (the GA and Spokes).

    As for the fights and violence that mar nearly every GA lately, as well as spokes, can you imagine the public reaction if someone were seriously hurt at one of these things. OWS would be finished in the eyes of the public and throughly discredited.

    • Nathan Leigh

      People are already empowered to stage actions without the approval or consensus of GA. Every day there are actions that are organized autonomously. Every week there are fundraisers that didn’t have the approval of GA. Getting approval from GA is just a stamp of officialness, but there’s no policy and no system in place (and I’m not sure there ever should be) to deal with, disenfranchise, or penalize people that organize actions outside of GA. If you go to GA and your idea is voted down, but you still want to do it, do it anyway. And if people are excited about it, they will participate. If they’re not excited about it, they wont. There is no system of control. That’s a good thing. That’s one of the first things we got right. Let’s get more things right together. Getting rid of GA only divides the community.

      • Justin Samuels

        How does getting rid of the GA divide the community? Out of the 8,000 people registered on http://www.nycga.net, I’d argue its already divided if the GA is only going to have 30 people each time. People who have children, or who are busy with work and school cannot attend. That is marginalization it and of itself. A number of older people have felt marginalized by the GA. In its present form, the GA needs to end.

        Just curious Nathan, how would you feel about an online GA? Occupiers could vote on issues online. This still marginalizes those who don’t have computers, but perhaps we could set up a ballot box of sorts of them. That way occupiers could function as a voting public, for certain major issues.

        But a group of 30 people speaking for at least 8,000 is clearly legislation in a House of Representative style. There is no need to recreate that in a horizontal movement.

        • Nathan Leigh

          Since the diaspora, I’ve attended only a handful of GAs per month. But unless I’m working and unable, I follow them on twitter every night. The GA doesn’t have the monolithic power you assign to it, but it has a lot of figurative and symbolic power. It is a rallying point, and a unifying gathering even if only a handful of people are physically there every night. And remember, a lot of that has had to do with the fact that it’s been winter and cold and people either had to suffer it out in the cold or when they were inside deal with the frustration of constantly shifting locations. Spring is here, things will change. More people will attend GA on a regular basis. But still, the option is always there to initiate actions outside of GA. There is nothing stopping you if you feel GA has unfairly dismissed your idea.

          I think the concept of an online GA is fascinating and totally worth exploring. Alternately including an online component where people are allowed to tweet in or something?

          • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

            Preacher, meet the choir. Been wanting to do this in some form since October. Problem is, not everyone has decent access or is tech savvy. Opens up a whole other set of marginalization issues.

        • Monica McLaughlin

          30 people are representing the masses and those 30 people were not even elected.

          • Nathan Leigh

            conversely, if 2 people want to end GA because they feel they speak for the movement, who elected you and @justin samuels to do that? you certainly don’t represent my voice on that one. i’m realizing more and more that when people say they speak for “the people” they’re almost always just speaking for themselves.

          • Urbaned

            And, 8,000+ have the ability to read posts on this site. There’s more going on at OWS than just the GA.

    • Trish OWS

      Justin,

      Check out the reaction from NYC faith-based community, and the

      Riverside Church congregation regarding the February, 13, 2012

      act of violence towards a black female Spokes, by a white male

      during a Spokes Council.

      It’s surreal…it’s madness, but hey, lets see how Spokes handles it,

      March 21, 2012.

    • Cynthia Price

      Wow Justin, that was a really powerful statement. I agree with you.

      We should get together once a week just for a transparency financial thing.

  8. sumumba

    ‘everyone empowered to everything’ Justin? If that’s not chaos it sure borders on it…UNLESS we are assuming EVERYONE is doing the right or healthy thing for this movement based on shared goals and values…which is something we do NOT have at the moment…

  9. DirekConek (aka Dallas)

    You saw what I said in the thread for the ‘how to address disruption at Spokes’ prop, Justin.

    And at risk of petting a few people backwards: I still don’t understand why people who repeatedly put themselves in a position to be struck with weapons by trained paramilitary (the NYPD) completely lose their ish when some drunken yelling bull happens in a meeting. To me, figuring *that* out is the crux of the matter… one would think that whatever allows us to stare down a violent cop from 3 feet away with stream rolling also applies to to an RV full of unarmed drunks or some loudmouth with a water balloon.

    • Chris Black

      Good point, Dallas.

      My $0.02:
      1. Keep and fix GA.
      2. Keep Spokes with more GA oversight.
      3. Re-Occupying Zuccotti Park [on more intense basis] would bring more participation.
      4. This is a great site.

      • Trish OWS

        Chris,

        Spokes with General Assembly oversight?

        Do you want to assist drawing up something that looks like “oversight”?

        I wish you had been around when we as a GA could have

        exercised some oversight with the Finance/Accounting WG.

        thanks

        • Chris Black

          Trish,

          Spokes was formed to take some of the workload off GA, as I remember. Perhaps it was given too much autonomy.

          During the first weeks, GA was overloaded, as OWS grew faster than its ability to guide it. Some things were fumbled, some things overlooked. A lot was accomplished, but not efficiently.

          After the raid, after winter set in, after donations tapered off, the consequences of those hastily structured procedures started taking their toll. Distrust and resentment are making resolution of these basic organizational problems much more difficult. Some see the attempt to repair them as futile – even pointless.

          A great deal of energy is spent arguing about how the movement should work, that could be used for waking up more of the 99%. I don’t have the answer, and since I am a part-timer, not much standing to propose operational changes. I have only been to a few GA’s, and no Spokes meetings.

          I believe strongly in the ability of OWS to help bring about fundamental changes in this country, and that its best chance will derive from the diversity of the participants. We should not waste this opportunity to organize ourselves within the original principles of solidarity, to focus our negative energy on the corrupt system, rather than each other. To that end, I’m happy to help any way I can.

          • Cynthia Price

            Nicely said. And you should not be considered a part-timer for wanting to focus on changes in our Country instead of G.A’s. How it became those here for the reasons that brought us together in the 1st place, are marginalized, is a system that needs addressed, or at least the same respect as those who want to focus on G.A’s, as all deserve equal respect for our actions in OWS as stated in the Principles of Solidarity

  10. sumumba

    yeah for all of my supposed ‘anti-anarchist’ talk..i’ve NEVER said dissolve the GA…well actually i may have said that when i mentioned a ELDERS COUNCIL in its place..lol…but hey …i like the idea of a GA AND THE SPOKES..we just need people in those bodies who actually want to BUILD THIS MOVEMENT and can see past themselves.. to the BIGGER picture…

    • Nathan Leigh

      what we need is a proposal clarifying and defining leaderlessness. As I understand it (and maybe I’ve been wrong for 6 months!) the idea is not that there are no leaders ever, but that we are endeavoring to create a system where anyone can step up at any time and put on a leadership hat. We need to find a way to clarify that system and codify a system for making sure those people take off their leadership hat when the particular discussion or action they were leading is over.

      • sumumba

        i hate that term…and prefer us being a LEADERFULL movement…cuz fact is some of us will leave this movement some will get arrested and or distracted..we need folks to step up and take LEADERSHIP all the time and in ALL GROUPS….

      • Monica McLaughlin

        Leaderless movement is a nice idea. In reality it leaves a poet vacuum that bullies step into.

        • Justin Samuels

          Exactly. So its part of the reason why I think we should cancel the Spokes and GA, because certain people there have moved into that opening. Moving forward, occupiers, can elect accountable, real leaders if we decided to do so.

    • Cynthia Price

      Exactly. We need People in these bodies who want to forward the Movement. Start watching who is always against anything that Forwards this Movement on a Mass Scale. You will be surprised, watch the aggressive comments and the same hands raise, again and again against anything to do with Action and if it passes, marginilize it and ignore.

  11. Chris O'Donnell

    I think I understand the frustration behind this proposal. I’m quite often frustrated at GAs and Spokes Councils. People yelling and screaming at each other mostly because either they don’t understand what someone is saying or they choose not to. It sucks.
    But to suggest ending everything without any system for collaboration to take its place seems unproductive. Not to mention that suggesting an end to the NYC GA on NYCGA.net is somewhat confusing.
    Also, I have to disagree with the concept that holding regular meetings is somehow incompatible with the concept of a “horizontal” movement or organization. Perhaps the problem here is that we don’t have a collective definition of the terms we’re using. OWS being a horizontal movement might mean something very different to you than it does to me, which I think is the case here. To me, it means that the decision making process is preformed in such a way that any willing member of the group has the opportunity to engage in it. This would be different than, say congress, where the elected representatives pass legislation while American citizens can only have input by electing those representatives, but can’t walk into the halls of congress and cast their vote on the latest house bill. So in my view, the GA is a very successful working example of a horizontal decision making body, despite its problems or the inability of its participants to act in a reasonable manner.
    Your critique of GA and Spokes seems to be that they aren’t horizontal because as groups they hold power over the movement, and that dissolving them would result in a more horizontal structure because “We should be empowered to make decisions on whatever projects we want to.” While there’s a lot to be said about autonomous action, it isn’t an organizational structure. And yes, I believe that OWS needs an organizational structure besides just the working groups.
    Now, as far as your criticism of Spokes goes, I think your accusation of a lack of horizontal structure is more accurate, at least in theory. In theory the SC is supposed to be a group made up of working group spokes who come together to make resource decisions as it pertains to those groups, and that the council would decide who would be a part of it. In theory, that creates a body that elevates a group (specifically all included WGs) above all OWSers who are not members of WGs. While SC still uses a horizontal process for decision making, in theory it threatens to empower the body to be powerful but inclusive. The only problem with that argument is that in PRACTICE the SC hasn’t become an inclusive body. No group is denied access, even ones of questionable sincerity. Hold up a piece of cardboard with just about anything you want written on it and BOOM! you’re a working group and you’ve got a voice in SC.
    In the end, these are tough issues to deal with, and we need solutions. But if we don’t come together and fix these structures that we’ve borrowed from history and fused to our own ends, we will have lost a major battle. We will have shown that we’re every bit as powerless as the 1% think we are. We can’t even hold an orderly meeting, pathetic! And while there are many ideas for solutions out there, following your experience working for banks who use the treat of calling the cops to keep away disruptions isn’t my idea of a solution either. The only thing that has ever stood in the way of people organizing together for a better world has been their inability to put aside their differences, come together and treat each other with respect and dignity. If we can do it right here, right now, maybe we can do it across the country and the world.

    • Monica McLaughlin

      Any willing member of the group is able to participate in the Park GA. Hardly. One of the most intelligent people on this forum who has donated thousands to OWS has not been out of bed in 30 years.

      • Nathan Leigh

        then let’s find a way to enfranchise that person, not disenfranchise others because minority voices aren’t being heard. we need to look for ways to lift EVERYONE up, not tear anyone down. the OP had a great suggestion about an online GA to give voice to people who can’t make it to the park every day.

        • Chris O'Donnell

          I completely agree with you Nathan. And Monica, I appreciate your comment. It is important for the able bodied to recognize our privileges.

        • Monica McLaughlin

          Direct democracy doesn’t work. Who besides the unemployed could possibly aliens that much time having out nights after night. Give me representation or give me death. This rule by the unelected few is not fixable.

          • Cynthia Price

            Its true. who can go to G.A’s, Spokes & Groups 7 nights a week to be involved. Its set up for 90% of the 99% to be Marginalized

          • Justin Samuels

            A GA or Spokes every night was really only viable with people living in the park. But since the park was closed, many of those people have found jobs and are living in outer boroughs. So the GA/Spokes council meetings haven’t been reset to match the new reality of things.

        • Urbaned

          There was a National General Tweet in on the 17th in Austin. I followed the tweets, and it was phenomenal. It will be happening on the 17th of every month, and might be a good thing for the nycga to focus on. Just sayin’.

      • Trish OWS

        Yes,

        That lovely person has left the movemment, after becoming

        demoralized by the pettiness, insulting, bias and unsolidarity

        behavior that is so evident within the movement.

        Why bother now, when you did not care then?

        (She was accused of being off her rocker, also).

        • Urbaned

          Obviously, social networking on this site has its own method of evaluating participants: thumbs up, thumbs down. Personally, I have tried exceptionally hard to write objective and caring statements. Some have taken what I’ve written as personal attacks. Some judge, and some misinterpret. I heard that tech ops might want to get rid of the ratings. They have helped me develop an approach and attitude towards posting here. This is a new tool – like the auto was in the early 1900′s. What direction will it take us? (By the way, it’s refreshing that these proposal postings DON’T have voting abilities : )

  12. sumumba

    i’d like to give that person a visit and think we all should to say thanx and show some accountability to her…lets organize something Monica…if shes ok with that…

  13. Nathan Leigh

    I just want to take a step back for a second. This is a heated argument, but actually an extremely important one, and I’m grateful that we’re all having it together intelligently and civilly.

  14. Lisa Rubenstein

    Many people who are in OWS are here because when we were at the park doing GAs with the human mic it touched touched something essential within them. I have heard this over and over again. I know, for myself, the idea of using a consensus method for decision-making had never occurred to me – that being said – going forward I will not ever be a proponent of representative democracy. It is very powerful.
    Using the human mic creates the feeling of unity – along with our sense of purpose; repeating every word that someone else is speaking [regardless of whether you agree with it] so that those in the back can hear – feels like community. When we were kicked out of the park, OWS began to unravel. Coincidence? I know this seems a bit simplistic – but I feel it is essential argument for keeping the GA.

    I, along with many in OWS, have been studying the value-based consensus method in the workshops of CT Butler. Using a VBC structure is extremely effective for creating a safe space and keeping the GA within a specific time frame.
    There will be more workshops being offered by CT Butler and I would highly recommend attending one – I am planning to attend many more.
    Even within the workshop the sense of community was palpable – it was transformative for many, very much in the same way that the GAs in the park were. Incidentally, there have been GAs in the park as of late, and they have not fared any better than they do at 60 Wall – but I feel that is no reason to dismantle it. It takes tenacity to change the world.
    Spokes is another story – again, let’s fix them – not give up.

    • Justin Samuels

      Any ideas you have are certainly appreciated, Lisa!:)

    • Yoni Miller

      I’m making a short video, outlining the specific structural issues with GA, and how the CT Butler Consensus model addresses those issues as well. I’m 99% (well 100%..) with lisa on her comment :)

      Very quickly: absolute twinkles to reducing our GA’s to once a week or something, but that can only happen if we understand actual purpose of GA, right now, doing so, would just result in most proposals not being heard, which is worse imo.

      This saturday, I’m posting proposal, to have discussion about why some proposals succeed and why some don’t, which is related to the structure of GA and OWS :)

      • Michael Korn

        Hey Yoni,

        I am a currently a dejected OWS member who has been lying low because I’ve given up any faith that the GA could ever be objective in the way they operate. But if you could dissect why some and not other proposals succeed at the GA, that would be a useful way to get at why the GA is dysfunctional and why or why not it has to be either be reformed or disbanded. Right On, Yoni!!

        • sumumba

          im with u Mike….for the life of me i don’t understand why we somehow think that people who have been to such social/cultural conditioning will somehow ‘naturally’ make the best decision in a General Assembly or for a Movement without some de-programming and re-education …if u look at the cause and reasoning behind many blocks they have NOTHING to do with MOVEMENT BUILDING but more ego/ideological building and consolidation…if u look at how we treat each other in this movement sometimes its beautiful but others quite unhealthy…why should we expect more if the people here arent educated or accultured and attuned to REAL movement building ?

          • Patrick Conway

            Nice video. I couldn’t comment there, which would have been better. Your main points for improvement seem to have been in the areas of egalitarian access to info, safety, timing of meetings, membership and process. I agree in all cases.

            Some of these problems, though, are only problems when looked art from a non-anarchist point of view, imo.

    • Trish OWS

      Lisa,

      The world knows the General Assembly to be a people based

      decision making body for the movement.

      And, because the process was so transparent/accessible and user-

      friendly, it did not matter who participated (they too were the 99%),

      stake-holders.

      Sadly, there are those who wish to distance themselves and the

      people from association with the GA.

      That would be tragic, and another serious threat to the Occupy

      movement as we have established it as of September 2011.

      Your insight is valued.

      The power of the people will never be defeated!

    • Urbaned

      Thank you, Lisa. There are structures in place in our world and lives that we are all prey to. For example, when I have some free time, guess what I like to do? Go shopping? Why is that? Because commercials have told me to do so my whole life. And, it “greases” the economy. There are other structures, such as going to the library, getting a driver’s license, getting and keeping a job, that are there and are enmeshed in my life. That is life in the U.S.

      Many of these structures cannot be recreated. Would OWS want to recreate the Post Office, for example? It would be one hellova job.

      On the other hand, *HOW* do we create new, functioning structures amid–or replacing (e.g., banking) — existing ones? You think people in Syria have issues? These are ours.

      If CT Butler has some structures in place that can enable us to function socially well together, I approve. If Shen has experience organizing revolutions in China, and wants to help, I approve.

      I have been through a lot in my life. I will say that, for those who are interested in personal development, “ego” is the most difficult issue we have. It prevents us from listening to others, causes us to judge, and perpetuates the basic human needs we have as babies. There are very few humans who overcome their egos in this lifetime. And, it is a lifetime challenge.

  15. sumumba

    agree with Lisa….from these workshops given by someone with MANY years of experience on GA’s and consensus…we in OWS have ALOT to learn and have been apparently been doing our GA’s and the process of Consenus wrong…

    • Justin Samuels

      Can you name out additional things we’ve been doing wrong in the GA and how to fix it?

      • sumumba

        Lisa can explain better…but the process of BLOCKS we’ve abused…from what i understand ONE or even a few people aren’t allowed to block something against the ENTIRE group…also shared values….we at OWS can say we do but actually we DON’T and that’s a big issue that deal with CONSENSUS AND affects SPOKES AND THE GA…the next time a workshop is given i plan to be there and i hope u r too Justin…however im for WHAT works,..if something better than the GA or SPOKES works lets try it out…im only tied to what works and if we cant fix the GA or SPOKES …then we should get rid of it…but remember that any ‘body’ or ‘structure’ is only as good or solid as the people who attend and uphold it…

        • Justin Samuels

          Okay, I hear you sumumba so when is this workshop? I will definitely be there. I would especially like to hear the controls the other groups using consensus have instituted against abuse of blocks. Because when certain people have abused blocks, I’ve said rather than hating the individual we should amend the process so it can’t be so easily abused.

          • Lisa Rubenstein

            @Justin I will defer to CT and Wren to provide the specifics because it is through the exercises and the discussions in the workshop that you are able to internalize the concept of the safe space. It is within that safe space that each individual is heard without the fear of…whatever it is they have a fear of. Many in the workshop used the term ‘liberating’ to describe their experience of the exercises – and ‘transformative’ to describe their experience of the workshop.

            Also know that using VBC, ‘blocks’ are so rare that in the 15 years that Wren has been in a community that uses consensus – there have only been 2 blocks!

            An experiment:
            The control group would be a productive, respectful community that uses consensus in meetings that run for 2 hours.
            The two other groups :
            1. A group using consensus, without a clear structure in place, that creates an environment of contention rather than unity, and runs hours overtime.
            2. A group using consensus, with a strong foundation, empowers both group and individuals to work as a community to find solutions within a 2 hour time frame.

            :)

          • Urbaned

            Lisa, thank you for your teachings! I pray that we can move forward with positive interpersonal relationships.

  16. Justin Samuels

    @nathanleigh I have never claimed to speak for anyone. There are some extremely important issues I’ve noticed that aren’t being addressed, so I decided to do my part in getting them address.

    As is, the GA and Spokes have no safeguards against tyranny of the majority. When articulate white guys punch people, they don’t get banned. But if a black woman punches someone, she gets banned. Isn’t that right, @smckeown? The others who got banned by spokes from spokes and occupy housing was a homeless black man, and a white man politically at odds with the majority of OWS, apparently. Favoritism at its worse.

    Even what happened Tuesday night was appalling. Though I have criticized OWS for encouraging dependency among the homeless, one person tried to shut down the metrocard program by himself, in order to support a bike coalition that he’s apparently friends with.

    Though I’ve long stated that disadvantaged people should seek help from licensed professionals and from state resources (I was there myself in the past), I in my interactions with them still respect them and what they have to say. Facilitation has blatantly and bluntly shut down people with communication problems, with mental disorders, or who were going through hard times in life (often drunk or on drugs). There’s completely no respect for marginalized people in this process that is supposed to be for the people.

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      Weren’t you just griping about getting rid of many of the ‘marginalized’ people because kitchen costs too much like 3 weeks ago? Why the sudden change of heart?

      • Justin Samuels

        Oh, no change of heart. I argued that OWS didn’t have the resources to help marginalized, homeless, and mentally ill people and that we should let social services take care of that. Where you had better resources better adapted to DEALING with them.

        I wasn’t and am not comfortable with homeless people depending on OWS. It was the spokes council, and not my proposal I might add, that threw people to wherever in the middle of the winter.

        For the record, the reason why I am so dismissive of OWS help is because its expensive to fix a broken person. I remember when I dropped out of Cornell University because of depression. I worked for awhile, went crazy again, had to go to social services. I had a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a psychiatric nurse practioner, a social worker, a doctor, and a dentist. It took a whole team of professionals to fix just one person. After being fixed I went back to Cornell and graduated. It cost in the SIX DIGITS to FIX my problems. Expenditures to fix me would have broken the general fund.

        So I tend to think that its best to get the best people possible to help those truly in need, who may have untreated medical and mental illness issues and I don’t see how OWS can marshall those resources.

        With that said, I do not want to get rid of people just because they are poor, homeless, or drug addicts. I did complain about some people who came by just for free stuff, and said they were freeloaders. But that doesn’t mean I think all poor, drunks, drug addicts, etc are freeloaders or bad people. Hey when I was crazy in those days I’d been known to put down 11 drinks in one day.

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          Well put. Thanks for being so open with us, Justin.

          • Urbaned

            I agree. Thanks, Justin. Interesting – I’ve had a difficult time figuring out “where you’ve been coming from” on these posts. This description of your story has helped a lot!

            We all have stories, and social media helps us tell them. It can be cathartic.

  17. Craig Stephens

    It is laughable that this proposal is set to go before the GA in an attempt to dismantle it. If you do not believe that the assembling of activists to practice representative direct democracy in an attempt for self governance is not the correct method to be used then simply do not partake in it. How does it make any sense that this proposal seeks to gain the approval of a body that it asserts to not need?

    This reminds me of a GA where a group of individuals, seeking to ‘hijack and dismantle’ the GA ended up illustrating a perfect example of exactly why the GA and its inclusive policies are important. The anti-GA activists ignored the usual horizontal process and asserted their own agenda, interrupting the flow of information sharing. It was the perfect example of how individuals seeking a more horizontal process or ‘voice’ in this movement end up drowning out the voices of others and pushing their own agenda onto others.

    Proposals like this have popped up in the past and have never managed to accomplish the desired result because it is clear to most that a process that allows us to hear each other and build ideas or make big decisions as a group is better than no alternative. These types of proposals perhaps rise out of frustration or anger directed at the wrong groups or people.

    • Monica McLaughlin

      Simply do not partake if you do not approve? Uh, that is how $1 million was frittered away with on half-baked plans and benefits for those who did participate.

      Also, why not just keep the the current system in the U.S. and just not participate in it?

      • Frances MA

        Oh are we up to a million dollars now? If I lived on your math Monica I would be a very rich woman. How is it that your numbers keep increasing while our finances keep decreasing?

          • Frances MA

            Yes, I’m very scary Monica. Booooooooo. Now about that million dollars…

        • Urbaned

          Frances – are you ALSO having a disagreement with Monica? Join the club.

        • Cynthia Price

          @Frances, I have to take something back. I give credit where it is due. i was very impressed with what i called the Brooklyn Hipsters Spokes Folks and their dedication on March 17th. I got some insight on why this elite group is so bonded, in a good way. Many stayed in the park Mar17 (i left when it started going down) and defended our park and went to jail and your group was there when some of you got out of Jail at 9 am in the morning…you were there for eachother. Being thrown into a paddy wagon and jail will create a bond as strong as you all have. I see it different now. That major action was alot for us and our Movement. I hope you all return the respect of those of us too dedicating our lives to this movement. I am fine financially for the rest of my life, and here fighting for your future and to change our world so you can have the opportunities I had. So maybe you can respect our involvement and understand our frustrations at wanting to be here more for that, than Spokes. I didnt see Cecily, havent seen her since November, but sorry to hear about her seizure/arrests. Anyway, Principles of Solidarity, there is a hard working couple from New Jersey, who come to Political Action on Fridays, and went to the primaries in New Hampshire that made the press. You probably dont know them, I see their hard work in OWS. Principles of Solidarity, mutual respect for us all giving up our life, at least most of it, in our own way, for OWS

    • Monica McLaughlin

      These proposals open up dialogue. That has value.

    • Justin Samuels

      We’re getting in touch with what people love about these bodies and also what they felt is extremely unfair. For example, participating in this democracy requires three days for the GA, and two days for the spokes. People who work, go to school, have children, or have other things going on typically don’t have the time to attend all these meetings and therefore their voices or lost or diminished.

      That doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be a GA, but it is in need of a serious reform. For starters, we wouldn’t need so many GAs if people didn’t seek approval for every little thing that they did. Where possible do autonomous action. If you want to hold an event or rally, you have the power to hold it yourself and you have the power to invite as many people as you need. You do not need consensus. If money is the issue there are plenty of other sources of money.

      Since I’ve seen good proposals blocked at the GA (sometimes maliciously) I’d like to encourage people to find their own way of doing things. The GA should really be for movement wide strategic things such as whether out of town occupiers should be housed (or not, not advocating that housing restart, just an example). Other movement wide strategic things should be decisions that affect the hold movement, such as should occupy get political (or not), should occupy work with whatever organizations or affinity groups, etc.

      • Craig Stephens

        @Justin Samuels, everything you mention in your comment goes against ‘Proposal to end spokes and the GA’. If you are interested in a proposal to reform the GA or Spokes Council systems then perhaps you, and others, should dedicate some time (like the 4+ weeks dedicated by activists who created the Spokes Council System) to redraft a better system instead of attempting to abolish the current one.

        The GA is again NOT a body to decide on anything other than big items that effect the entire movement. I don’t understand why you and perhaps others feel that the GA inhibits autonomous actions by activists because it simply can’t. However, it does attempt to address huge decisions that effect the entire movement such as sell out to Ben and Jerry’s or endorsing political officals.

        Also, you argument about the timeframe involved in drafting, revising and proposing proposals is totally pointless. I work FULL TIME and dedicate as much time as I can to the occupation. I also understand that I CANT be at every meeting and therefore accept the responsibility that I ALONE can determine my participation in this movement. We as individuals must make time and space for activism, it is not the responsibility of OWS or the GA or Spokes Council to fit our schedules.

    • Cynthia Price

      Marginilizing people who work or go to School or looking for Work so they can pay rent is not okay. In Ft Lauderdale, they have their Main G.A. very thursday night at 7;30pm and have an action Saturday Afternoon which the police are given a map in advance. Working people can be as involved in OWS as non working people. 100 people, of all walks of lifs from disabled to doctors equally involved, thats “Democracy

  18. Cynthia Price

    Wow, I was thinking the same thing about Spokes:
    1. Spokes Definetly needs to be disolved. The Spokes Council seems to be very aggressive and disrupt, block any progress at the G.A’s. yet very agressive about promoting spokes agenda’s. It is definetly sabotaging this movement from going forward.
    2. Usually when people are yelling, if you listen, they have very valid points (not that should be allowed, but just sayin.)
    3. At the Very Least there should be a Representative from G.A. at SpokesCouncil and vice verse with a report backs. Someone was talking about taking back the park and not one person said “a proposal was passed at G.A. yesterday”

    • Monica McLaughlin

      Please excuse my ignorance but tell me are these 2 bodies run by different sets of people? Is the audience the same for both? Does spokes have a web site?

      • sumumba

        no website but yes they are run differently…spokes is more like a representative body for WG’s and only the SPOKE for that night gets to vote although there’s always or most of the time a ‘spoke’ who sits behind them…if they disagree with their spokes vote they can voice that…Spokes has actually suspended people from its meetings and generally folks off the street dont come to spokes…its FAR from perfect but less RANDOM than GA’s

        • Monica McLaughlin

          i am into a representational form of government with the representative accountable to the people they represent. This is why we need to get money out of politics and GA.

        • Trish OWS

          Monica,

          Totally erroneous information.

          Not the way Spokes operates at all.

          Complete misinformation, but not

          surprised, considering the source.

          Trish

      • Trish OWS

        Monica.

        It’s laughable but the General Assembly

        probably made Spokes Council obsolete as

        of JANUARY, 20, 2012.

        This represents the defining date which

        all OWS groups (entities) were

        acknowledged as equals by the General

        Assembly.

        Spokes had attempted repeatly, to

        designate certain groups as this or

        that, have certain groups invite certain groups to become a part of Spokes, set guidelines in their voting, to shun those who do not do this or that, on and on…

        (the reasons making it difficult to

        organize, apart from the chaos after

        eviction)

        With a proposal the General Assembly

        effectively positioned all OWS groups as

        equal and Spokes efforts to become more

        than what they were empowered to be by

        the GA to became null and void.

        PS: Another instance of the power of the people.

        Solidarity

    • Justin Samuels

      @cynprice I’ve also noticed that there seems to be a particularly strong hatred of spokes by the poor and homeless. They feel that spokes is elitist. This perceived elitism certainly needs to be addressed as well.

      Glad you talked about listening to people. Just listening to people would certainly reduce chaos at GA and spokes. More empathy is needed, ESPECIALLY from facilitation.

      • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

        Pretty simple to understand – indoor meeting mean access can be controlled. People who aren’t always indoors and don’t always have the opportunity to be indoors understand this intuitively even when not thinking about it consciously.

    • Trish OWS

      Cynthia,

      Agreed, the Spokes model has to go and with it …

      the mind-set of individuals who feel threated by that decision.

      • Cynthia Price

        Im headed to Spokes Tuesday, taking notes again, if anyone wants to go with me. My notes from last time have very valid reasons that this may b a great proposal. Ill keep an open mind and look for the reasons it exists.

      • Cynthia Price

        Im headed to Spokes Tuesday, taking notes again, if anyone wants to go with me. .

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          Last I checked the next Spokes is Wed. Current schedule = GA on Tuesday.

  19. sumumba

    well i think BOTH can work and as bad as SPOKES has been its more functional than the GA…WE need to either restrcuture both or come up with something that works better BOTTOMLINE…and in the meantime as i’ve said..if OWS is A ‘HORIZONTAL AND LEADERLESS’ which practices ‘DIRECT DEMOCRACY’ we DEFINITELY need to think about possibly scrapping those terms and look at the reality and or create something better….ie EVOLVE…

    • Justin Samuels

      @sumumba I appreciate your feedback and any comments, and any ideas you have on restructuring spokes and the ga, please continue to share. We can work to address and fix these things.

      • sumumba

        no prob bro…we DEFINATELY need to fix these two structures or EVOLVE to something else…SURELY with all our talents and creativity we should be able to either fix em or replace them but then again….those structures can only be as good as the people who frequent them

  20. drew

    This whole idea of tossing out something that doesn’t work is silly. Build a better system and the people will come.

    • Monica McLaughlin

      I say leave it but do not pretend it is democratic and find another way to vet proposals that is more of a meritocracy and less of a popularity contest.

      • Trish OWS

        Possibly,

        Hand pre-picked individuals from Spokes Council,

        members of current OWS WGs,(Finance/Facilitation/DA/Tech-

        Ops) who are id’ed as administrators (online) of BAG, OMG,

        MRG (monied affinity groups)..

        Are we NOT GOING to be attentive to the WHITE ELEPHANT

        in the room (movement)?

      • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

        We *could* have facilitators do all the readings of props, but it’d be hard to do the Q&A format of concerns and FAs anonymously unless we patched people in by phone/Skype/whatever. Also as much as personality politics suck, I feel we have a right to know who is bottomlining a given proposal, because it does have some bearing on whether or not it will be a good move for the group..

    • Justin Samuels

      @drew Absolutely right, so we need input on how to build a better system? Ideas?

      • perspicacious

        The leaders who pronounced the edict establishing the intricate and cultish “twinkle” system of governing issued their orders and proclamations and now stay in the distant background sometimes conducting exercises such as “facilitation” training.

        It has always amazed me how everyone has just blindly followed this hidden leader (or leaders) acting as though somehow this bizarre method of governing is somehow so sacred that it must be accepted without objection and that it is the absolute essential vehicle to be able to have a movement to bring about the system changes regarding corporate influence in our nation’s government that so many rallied around when the movement started.

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          Cultish??? Would you be more comfortable if we just did 0s and 1s? Maybe red/yellow/green cards? Sorry to be snarky, but I don’t see anything cultish going on.

          • perspicacious

            You seem to be putting a negative value assessment on “cultish” To me it’s a neutral term. There are good cults and bad cults and many in between. The current definition of a cult is a group of people led by a charismatic or persuasively powerful person. My use of the term “twinkle” system wasn’t relative at all to any critique of that particular method of voting, but was merely a simplistic (intended to be humorous) way of labeling the entire out-of-the-mainstream form of running a meeting (or governing a movement). And whoever is that leader, who had whatever power it took to cause a movement to embrace this ritualistic form of group control, certainly had enough influence and power over the group to earn the title of “charismatic,” albeit after putting the system into place they were uncharacteristically able to retreat to an behind the scenes, observatory vantage position.

            Watching a GA in action, with the mic checks and the hand signals and precise inviolate rules of procedure with the facilitators in control of the thought processes literally gave me a feeling reminiscent of a scene in a sci-fi film where masses are controlled by invisible masters who had sometime in the past laid down their own bizarre methods for group communication and order and where none of the participants knew the origin of the rules or why everyone followed them all so blindly and further where none of those being controlled were actually present when it was all set in motion nor had ever seen the faces of their masters.

            The point of my post was mostly a commentary on my own puzzlement about how all of those techniques and methods which make up this defined system of governing have been embraced as some sort of infallible scripture to which the group declares blind allegiance, never even attempting to redefine it, much less reject it in favor or some other method of governance, as though such attempts would be… dare it be said, “blasphemous.”

  21. Cynthia Price

    Monica, will explain off-line.
    I would think Spokes would be more functional at G.A.’s if they were communicative and transparent and they not obstructed progress at the G.A’s. It seems to be a power trip, that if the idea didnt originate at Spokes, they are against it.

  22. Matt Lepacek

    The GA is the most important part of OWS, direct democracy. Don’t give up on it. We can dissolve powers from Spokes back to the GA. That doesn’t mean SC was a bad idea, it’s just that so many of us are recycling conversations like this frequently. We need to unify and make the GA as large as it can be. Giving up on the GA is a rubber stamp for corruption in politics.

    • sumumba

      but the GA has is more chaotic than the SPOKES and has PROVEN time after time NOT make healthy decisions for our Movement…anybody where anyone can walk off the street and block something or be disruptive or violent with no repercussions is NOT a body that can be trusted nor functional

      • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

        Well… the question of whether 90% supermajority (modified consensus) works is a complex issue in itself, but it’s a lot harder to manipulate or disrupt a larger GA. If there are 200 people at a given GA you have to get 20 blocks/downtwinkles to prevent a prop from going through. When there are 30 people…. well, you do the math.

        Not that I don’t hear where you are coming from, but I don’t think going on about how it’s dangerous and dysfunctional all the time is productive.. in fact it’s quite the opposte – we need greater attendance and new blood, not to scare everyone away from GA. :D

        • Justin Samuels

          We do need greater attendance and new blood, but if they come to the GA when fights are breaking out, you’ve simply scared them away in person.

          I think the 90% supermajority is extremely detrimental to OWS. Not only does it cause a lot of antagonism, I’ve seen proposals that were excellent ideas that were blocked simply because someone didn’t like a person or because someone wanted to be a jerk.

          Often blocked proposals came back, and at times they were eventually passed. But what a waste of everyone’s time. There are certain major movement changing things like the spending freeze which must be discussed by multiple GAs. But that’s often not necessary with solidarity statements or direct actions.

          Which brings me to another point. A lot of proposals bought to the GA should be done autonomously or with working groups. The person of the GA is not to micromanage every nook and cranny in OWS. Perhaps we should have more discussion and then an education process on what proposals explicitly need GA approval, and which don’t.

          • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

            *twinkles*

            Don’t ask permission, ask forgiveness.

          • Patrick Conway

            I strongly agree with your 90% super-majority comment. The only thing worse than the tyranny of the majority is the tyranny of the minority.

            Strangely, though we’re all opposed to the 1% controlling everything, marginalizing the 99%, we have adopted a process that is comfortable with 10% controlling everything, marginalizing the 90%. Many of us no longer attend GA because we have lost patience with the frequent disruptions; many more have left because the process leaves an aftertaste of unfairness.

            Props to perspicacious on the sci-fi analogy in their second post above.

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          Well, I bet we’ve made some serious headway in the ‘new blood at GA’ department. Doing meetings in a neighborhood that is usually empty on weekends and after 7 PM didn’t help.

    • Justin Samuels

      Well, one thing Matt is that if someone where to attend 3 Gas, and Two Spokes, that’s basically a full time job and who has that kind of time for something that doesn’t pay money?

      Its particularly marginalizing for those with jobs, school, children, (lives outside OWS). So a separate spokes council by nature does indeed weaken the GA. The other is, occupiers congregate around downtown. Spokes is held all over the place and that saps people away from downtown.

  23. sumumba

    well sadly the livestreaming and decisions of the GA have scared many away…..again if we had a EDUCATED and RESPONSIBLE Movement Building and collective mindset in our GA’s i think more would come on it…but often it turns into a type of mob/ideology driven structure…what gets passed and blocked there often is NOT building this movement at all..

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      Same principle applies. Since we essentially do not filter what goes in front of the GA, if you don’t like the items people are presenting…. bring your own.

      • Justin Samuels

        Particularly you can present reforms to the GA that would amend the blocking process, or that try to limit it. Or other proposals that would include increased education of the process. Or the processes can be altered if they are flawed. I’ve noticed that major amending proposals typically are not going to get passed in one GA, as people need time to consider all points. You’d have to do this over several GAs probably.

        My own personal belief is that some people are so obsessed with the process they care little about whether something is a good proposal for OWS or the public. For this reason, I tend to encourage people to do things as autonomously as possible. You have the power, not those who might block you in the GA. If you want to hold a direct action or event, just hold it and market it on facebook, twitter, with fliers, posters, word of mouth, telephone texts and people will come. Screw the blockers!:)

    • Trish OWS

      Wait a second…

      The Spokes (model), actions, associations, and decisons was, up until January

      2012, the most destructive, exclusionary and insulting threat to the 99% OWS

      collective.

      Presently, it appears attempts are now being made to pass proposals (tools) to

      silence, manage and control and “SHUN” those who exercise free

      thought/opinions (wG’s) which might lead would lead open discussions.

      We need to think, think, and think again…

      This is our movement…We are not here to be puppets of Wall Street entities,

      we are not here to be used, misused, or abused.

      We are….

      Occupy Wall Street New York City General Assembly

      The primary decision making body of the Occupy movement.

      Don’t allow anyone to tell you different, don’t allow anyone to lead you to

      believe you’re sick, you should be put to sleep….

      The power of the people will never be defeated…

    • Justin Samuels

      Blocks don’t end discussions and ideas. Nor will blocks end attempts at reform and change will always occur in some form or manner. So block AWAY. :)

  24. Frances MA

    Gosh I am so offended I almost don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with your argument about ending housing for occupiers months after the eviction. Justin Samuels, were you in attendance at the spokes council where it was decided to no longer pay for housing in the Park Slope Church? I was. I proposed it, and I would do so again in a heartbeat. Here is what you have stated above:

    Spokes showed how at a whim it could just end a housing program for occupiers. Essentially people were thrown to the wolves by this decision.

    I will ask you again sir, were you in attendance that evening? Did you listen to the people who were sleeping in the churches, the women in particular who spoke of their fears, of the lack of security and deescalation, of how they felt unsafe every hour of every night? I did. It is why I proposed that we stop paying to house people there. It had nothing to with money and everything to do with safety and security, two things which we could not and still cannot provide in our spaces. How dare you sir accuse the spokes council of making this decision “on a whim” and “throwing people to the wolves.” Granted, this is not the first time I have been faced with this breathtakingly ignorant argument, only the latest. I had so hoped that this was a conversation that I had finished having months ago, but here you are raising the issue again and forcing me to defend an action that was unanimously supported by all of those in attendance including the members of the housing working group and the occupiers living in the churches at the time.

    We, all of us, paid to house people in churches for a longer period of time then we actually occupied the park. Read that last sentence again because it is an important one. OWS is not a social services organization. It is a movement for social justice and economic equality. We are not here to treat the symptoms of societies ills, but to get at the root cause of the disease. There are thousands of organizations in the city who do the hard work of housing and feeding the homeless and mentally ill every day, and have been doing so for decades. We are not one of those organizations. We are not equipped in any way, shape or form to be one of those organizations. This is why are spaces and our systems did not work.

    Yes, those of us at spokes council are as greedy and wicked as Scrooge and we gleefully laugh over our heaps of metrocards as we toss Tiny Tim into the cold without his crutches. Can we stop this spokes/versus GA elitist nonsense bullshit argument already? Just because people repeat it doesn’t make it true. What exactly do you think is so secretive about spokes council? Anyone is welcome to attend. They just have to find the underground lair where we hold the meetings, answer the troll’s three questions, and cross the rope bridge over the lava river. It’s easy. Even Trish could do it. Actually scratch that no she can’t. She missed her proposal at the last meeting because she went to the wrong address. Regardless these are open meetings. No secrets. But you are right about one thing. They aren’t functional. Neither is the GA. But tossing all of our structures out the window hardly seems like a logical solution to our problems.

    • sumumba

      very true words again FRANCIS..i never have stayed at a church but i was in a homeless shelter until i became fortunate enough to be housed by other Occupiers…..thats one of the many GREAT stories of OWS and THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT…we need to fix our structures or create better ones…bottomline

    • Justin Samuels

      @frances The fact that OWS is not a social services organization has nothing to do with the fact that spokes did indeed end housing on a whim. The hatred at spokes is how many people housed in the church were present when this decision was made? Did the spokes council advertise this decision and allow those housed in the church to come over and make their case?

      No. It was made without their input. Therefore, there was no community consensus to end housing. It was a decision made by a few people. I understand that there were problems in housing. But spokes has some responsibility in this as well. Spokes was paying for housing without instituting proper controls on who was even eligible to be in this housing. Housing took in people who quite clearly where not living in the park pre raid.

      So again, it seems that this decision underlies the fact that when it suits the purposes of some, OWS is not a horizontal movement and entire groups of people ARE marginalized.

      The fact that such a large percentage of people believe the spokes council to be an elist organization in and of itself should concern you. If you’re all interested in all occupiers being together as a part of a movement, you might make an attempt to build bridges and reconcile between the various viewpoints.

      • Frances MA

        Did you even read my post Justin? I see that you didn’t answer my question. Were you present at the spokes council for the housing proposal? It was listed on the nycga site so yes, people were aware that it was going to be discussed. And yes, as I said people who were living in the church were present and spoke at length about the dangers of the housing situation as did the members of the housing group who brought the proposal and were also living in the church. And the “hatred” at spokes? Really?

        • Justin Samuels

          Frances:

          Housing had over 100 people at that point. Most of them were not there. Most of the people in housing do not have computers, so an online posting is hardly advertising to them.

          Again, a few people made a decision for a large group of people. That’s what you don’t seem to understand. That is not consensus, and that quite clearly is an example of leadership.

          I read the minutes and live tweets for the proposal that ended the housing program. It was a part of the back payment of rent to the churches. I do not recall it as a separate proposal.

          And yes, there is considerable hatred of spokes in the movement, particularly among the homeless, poor, and otherwise marginalized, as well as amongst those who identify as anarchist.

          • Trish OWS

            Justin,

            Well said, also there are those who are seasoned,

            astute NYC activist who realize that this was not the

            organizational model for a movement of diverse

            passions/aspirations/poltics,etc

            In October 2011, I spoke with Marissa about the rationale for the model out of all the organizational models available to movements.

            Her response was hostile, (I had the feeling I was out of line to ask, but more importantly, I had the feeling she was not being out with her response.

            Now I know there was ulterior motives.

          • Patrick Conway

            Both Frances and Justin are making good points here, albeit at cross purposes. Justin is pointing at the problems of transparency and trust that have plagued SC, fairly or otherwise, since its inception. Frances of pointing at the problem of safety in our spaces, which is a big reason that attendance at everything is down.

            Thanks to you both for this important dialog. For what it’s worth, let me day that I would trace the acceleration of the problems in GA to when SC started. The exclusivity of SC, and its anarchist appeal, led to many people deciding to attend GA way less. Others saw SC as hierarchical and exclusionary, and they never attended, unless it was to disrupt. Right afterwards, the GU sprang up, in obvious ideological dissension, and then the park got sacked. So far, we haven’t made much use of that opportunity to begin anew on stronger footing.

          • Sean McKeown

            Point of motherfucking information: the proposal that led to Housing at 86th Street Church having a two-week exit strategy came up via friendly amendment to an emergency proposal brought forward by a group of individuals brought forward by that church’s community, in which they sought to replace the cover to the baptismal font.

            The friendly amendment was accepted by these occupiers who were staying at the church, and while they may not have been especially happy about it, they also weren’t especially happy about how unsafe it was to be there either.

            Also: 86th Street church still presently has Occupiers staying there. FYI.

    • Trish OWS

      Frances,

      I have no idea of who are what you are, I could care less of what you

      represent.

      But, I will take issue that you are using this venue to singled me out

      for personal gratification and possibly repeating my name in an

      effort to….get off!

      There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind, your manner/intentions

      seem personal, (obsessive,possessive).

      I’m not interested…I’m heterosexual,

      Trish

      • Frances MA

        LOL. Wow. Thanks Trish. I’ll keep that in mind. I needed a good laugh after seeing my friends beaten and arrested tonight at the park. Funny, I didn’t see you there? And interesting that you don’t know who I am. I’ve known your name for 6 months now. Why do you think that is? Thanks again for the laugh. I needed that.

        • Trish OWS

          Dumb, dumb, dumb

          You knew my name before I joined OWS, interesting…

          NOT POSSIBLE UNLESS, you are associated with NYPD

          Intelligence, NYC Office of Investigation, or some other

          Brooklyn based community snitcher operation.

          I continue to be….heterosexual

          Trish

          • Frances MA

            Yes, I’m a cop Trish. I’m a big lesbian cop and I am hot for you. You win. Congratulations. Seriously. Seek help lady.

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          <<< Mind blown.

          I saw Frances at the park, and at jail support. What did the NYCGA Council have to do that was more important than our 6 month anniversary GA and/or jail support? Just curious.

  25. Lucas Bimson

    I know that attempting to derive anything from the existing US Constitution is sometimes unpopular, but I have to wonder if formulating a microcosm of the three branches (with an executive branch being the only questionable addition) would solve the issue of delegating legislation aspects to a structure outside the GA (but not outside it’s authority).
    By electing people that groups trust to handle that process, it opens the GA up to more discussions about future ideas and movement building, as well as a ready-made assembly to handle easily recalling elected individuals as well as modifying rules and laws within those branches. Just as waves of immigration into the country often effects changes in national and state laws, the somewhat amorphous nature of GA attendance is suited to those kind of 90% consensus situations where immediate implementations are needed to address corruption or simply nessessary change.
    I don’t know if representative government is the best option, but with a GA we have the ability to organize the voting citizens of the movement to challenge their representatives actively, daily, and effectively. Representatives present also an opportunity to trust each other, and also cycle people in and out of those positions when they betray that trust. We’re a small enough group (compared to 300+ million in the country) that I believe we can manage ourselves effectively in this manner.

    Disclaimer- I’m suggesting adapting similar concepts of those branches, not so much the nuts and bolts and crap in the corners so prevalent in said structures today.

  26. sumumba

    good points Lucas…im not so sure about going back to the ‘old’ ways of ‘governance’ but i think we should continue to study maybe experiment and see what works..General Assemblies work GREAT in homogeneous communities and places…we TRULY cant say were are in those

  27. Urbaned

    There is an educational program called “Collaborize Classroom.” In it, teachers propose a question, and students vote on answers at their computers. (Of course, in most classrooms, students don’t have individual computers). But, this type of online voting would be great for the GA because it would provide more anonymity in voting, and maybe even make voting quicker.

    This might even be able to be done with twitter; I’m not sure how to set it up (and being local to the city would be essential). Tech ops, anyone? Just saying.

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      The Twitter thing sounds like Lucas Wilcox’ UnitedGA idea. Have you been in touch with him?

      Twitter = @SynchronizeOWS

      His phone number’s somewhere on here on the prop he submitted.

      • Urbaned

        thanks – I’ll try contacting him. Hope you’re having a great day!

  28. Lisa Rubenstein

    This is a great covo, fam!
    @Justin – it is awesome to watch you begin with an idea of dismantling GA and Spokes – and then with the new information from subsequent posts you are able to modify your proposal, or point of view. I am really glad to see someone who is open to new information! I just wanted to acknowledge that.
    At any rate, the way this thread occurred is exactly the way a GA should function.
    As Yoni pointed out in his video – the fact that we are in a community that uses consensus for it’s decision making – a proposal would be brought before a GA, not for permission, but to create a conversation to flesh out an idea, or a plan of action – to get input from the community.
    Many of us are working with CT and Wren to create many of these workshops for OWS. Please send me a message – everyone who would be interested – because there is a fee for this and there are many people who have come forward with funding to provide a scholarship for those who cannot afford the fee.
    Also, I know that CT and Wren are putting together a VBC workshop en Espanol (sic) for the next workshop – if anyone knows of a Spanish translator – a person or technology – please let me know.
    Thanks!

    • Trish OWS

      Lisa,

      BAG, OMG, and MRG, all monied Affinity Groups.

      I suggest you head up the proposal, giving yourself plenty of time to

      organize your project…not like before.

      trish

    • Urbaned

      Lisa, I really applaud your compassionate response. I think we need to learn to come from a place of tolerance and compassion. Then, we’ll all grow, along with OWS.

    • Nathan Leigh

      Lisa, well put! This is a conversation we need to be having, and we’re having it (mostly) civilly and respectfully. Which is amazing! For translation tech, try http://translate.google.com/ is a pretty decent translation app. it’s far from perfect and might fail when it comes to complicated philosophical / procedural texts, but we should be trying to translate proposals and lit into as many language as possible to minimize alienation even if it’s simple automated translation for now.

    • Trish OWS

      Lisa,

      You had the previous project that you cancelled, remember?

      Rather than the agenda being set by these special interest groups,

      why not set one of our own in associating with Affinity Groups.

      Just a thought in a different direction.

      Trish

      • Lisa Rubenstein

        @Trish,
        No, Wren and I decided not to go forward with the proposal at that time because the project was not quite within the criteria required for the grant.
        We have formed an affinity group that is just starting to get underway now.
        Thanx.
        Lisa

  29. Cynthia Price

    @Frances @Trish @NathanLeigh @Justin @Sumumba This is the 4th time tonight (it is after midnite) I have looked online for the location of SpokesCouncil Tomorrow. It appears Shady, Elitist (whatever other peeps call it) to me its..nevermind. A grandfather got his tortured Dead Grandson back today with his organs stolen. Guess they wanted to give it back to Grandpa instead of throw him in the trash so Grandpa would would know what is happening to his sons) so no times for play in OWS right now, for me. Just put the address up 24 hours in advance. .This movement was started for (just read the declaration, no time to explain) not about the Dinner Menu with your friends tomrorow. I have to go to bed and work tomorrow, and cant check the Computer 3 times tomorrow to see where it is and will have to go to Kinkos after work and pay $5 to get online and look again since i have a basic MetroPCS phone and look for it. Marginilizing working people, and causing friction by doing these shady games is not OWS, its Spokes apparently. I was hoping to have a fresh view tomorrow…

    • Trish OWS

      Cynthia,

      I haven’t been the only person who’s ask for

      this small thing.

      Twelve to twenty-four hour heads up, name,

      address, directions to Spokes meeting venue.

      This appears to be a control issue.

      • Nathan Leigh

        @patriot @cynprice this is not a control issue, this is a “many from techops are in jail right now” issue. stop imagining conspiracies.

        • Frances MA

          Yeah, seriously how out of touch are you guys? Spokes council hasn’t even functioned in 2 weeks because not enough people showed up at most of the meetings. And the one meeting where we had enough people to function because we all came to hear Trish’s proposal to ban Robert disruptors caused the meeting to finish before it even got started. This isn’t an elitist thing. This is a we have all been doing jail support all day because 70 of our comrades were beaten and locked up by the NYPD last night thing. I don’t even go to spokes council anymore. Help yourself to it Cynthia.

          • Trish OWS

            I am not a comrade…

            I continue to be referred to as a

            classy lady by intelligent well-

            bred observers/participates

            within OWS.

            Pot-bellied, dumpster diving,

            hamster-types, you know the drill.

            Bye

          • Trish OWS

            Frances,

            So this is really what your thread of personal

            attacks were about…the proposal to ban Robert,

            from spokes Council and the effort by those here in

            this forum to discredit my character before the

            proposal was addressed in Spokes Council…

            Not surprised…Devious, dangerous, oppressive,

            violent behavior, supported social deviants within

            OWS.

            Trish

        • Trish OWS

          Nathan,

          Point taken, the issue was the

          posting of the venue for spokes

          tomorrow.

          Nothing more, it’s not posted, fine,

          the reason is …not

          possible…people are in jail, OK.

          OK

    • drew

      @cynprice You wouldn’t be the first person to accuse Tech of conspiring.

      The truth is that we, along with many others, need help (not lambasting on the internet).

      Tech is sent a message when the people who get us space find the space. So there are a number of places to help. You could help find the space for spokes. You could help negotiate and build relationships with space owners. You could help promote the location to people who don’t have access to computers. You could help pay for the space (pretty sure it’s coming out of people’s wallets).

      If you are interested in helping contact tech@nycga.net

  30. Nathan Leigh

    @cynthiaprice not sure why i’m called out in this. i’m part of the puppetry guild. i hardly ever go to spokes because i don’t do a lot that requires interfacing with other working groups in such a specific manner. if you’re going to accuse people of being elitists, at least do your legwork to make sure you’re calling out the right people. also, around 100 people were arrested last night, several of them techops folks. i have a feeling the website has not been updated with the most current information because the people who usually handle that sort of thing are currently in jail after having spent a night being abused and violently handled by the nypd. please show those citizen heroes the respect and solidarity they deserve by refraining from insulting them frivolously at least until they’re out of the tombs. i hope they would do the same for you.

    • Trish OWS

      Nathan,

      OK, Spokes/Tech-ops/etc did not know and could

      not get around to posting before

      Saturday,03/17/2012 where they would be

      meeting on Monday 03/19/2012.

      Agreed, not sure why you were called out..on

      this either (Is this how it’s done?)

      thanxs

  31. Nathan Leigh

    @cynprice not sure why i’m called out in this. i’m part of the puppetry guild. i hardly ever go to spokes because i don’t do a lot that requires interfacing with other working groups in such a specific manner. if you’re going to accuse people of being elitists, at least do your legwork to make sure you’re calling out the right people. also, around 100 people were arrested last night, several of them techops folks. i have a feeling the website has not been updated with the most current information because the people who usually handle that sort of thing are currently in jail after having spent a night being abused and violently handled by the nypd. please show those citizen heroes the respect and solidarity they deserve by refraining from insulting them frivolously at least until they’re out of the tombs. i hope they would do the same for you.

  32. Cynthia Price

    Okay, sorry I deleted my post, I didnt realize it was the arrests thing. I appreciate the people who went to jail, for our cause, guess im glad i left at 11:00pm. And of course support them 100%

  33. Cynthia Price

    p.s. I did donate directly to somone directly on WePay yesterday And it was part of the grouup involved in arrests yesterday. .

  34. Craig Stephens

    I’m not sure how many, if any, of you were at the GA on our 6th month anniversary but Lady and I lead it and to us it was a great example of how direct democracy will work if you work it. There were not contensious items, very few minor disruptions and generally good vibes all around. It was reminiscent of the initial months of the occupation and an overall positive sign to us activists. :)

    • Trish OWS

      Craig,

      QUESTION: How can you NOT be sure how many, IF ANY, were at

      the GA when you (lead) facilitated it?

      Nevertheless….

      (reminiscent of the initial months of the occupation)

      thanxs

      • Craig Stephens

        Trish…I was referring to the individuals in this forum (those who believe the GA is broken but likely don’t attend)…there were around 300+ activists present for the GA, and the numbers grew afterwards to about 500+ before the eviction. And for that matter how can ANYONE be sure how many participants there are without a head count?

    • Cynthia Price

      I was there and I would say about 500 because of the Anniversary, but I would say that G.A. was more the exception, than the Rule. Lady always does a great job facilitating. Usually, its Time Consuming and Marginilizes the Working poor and middle class who clearly cant get to GA & Spokes 5 nights a week, then Groups on Fridays, and an action at least once a week.

  35. Christopher "Total" Guerra

    POINT OF MOTHAFUCKING INFOMATION:
    If you don’t like the GA or Spokes, you can always LEAVE OWS. You are not forced to be here.We are wasting time even debating the idea. Has anyone realized that this debate could of been set up by someone to distract OWS?

    By the way. Who’s this Trish person? I never seen her before and her ideas show the fact Reagen was wrong about shutting down the Mental Hospitals :P

    —–
    Hoover/Reagen 2012

    • Monica McLaughlin

      Very true. A system that works for the few was set up by the few that the many are the expected to abide by. Just like the system we now have. Is it human nature?

    • Monica McLaughlin

      Those who cannot handle change or civil discussion are free to leave the movement.

    • Monica McLaughlin

      If you do not know Trish, and so have no personal experience with her, why would you jump on the attack bandwagon? Some of those who do know her, may have genuine grievances. Why not leave the discussion to them?

      • Christopher "Total" Guerra

        I went by the what she says in the posts. thats’s it Period. I have no ties to her in anyways.

    • lp

      I find your flip comment about “Mental Hospitals” quite offensive. Many of us are working very hard to remove the stigma around mental illness.

      Thank you.

      • Christopher "Total" Guerra

        I went by the what she says in the posts. that’s it Period. I have no ties to her in anyways. @Ip if your mentally unstable and refuse to take the medicine the doctors give you. Then you become a potential problem to society. Mental Illness isn’t the problem. Many famous people are “mentally ill”, but they take their prescribed meds. I believe in Mental institutions for those that can not take care of themselves.

        • Urbaned

          Human nature exists on a range. Who is to say where “mental illness” falls? I suppose therapists, etc. But, I don’t see any of them here.

          I see many people with needs who are trying to create a society in which their needs are *better* met.

    • drew

      Please keep the discussion civil, don’t call people names please.

  36. Cynthia Price

    @guerra So lets say a working poor person wants to be involved as they support the issues that OWS was started for (read “the Declaration”) they are told to go to a workgroup; , but then they arent really a part of OWS….you dont find that strange? Any Solutions to that.? Do we tell new people they will spend 30 hours a week on control issues, not problem solving of our govt issues, to really be a part of OWS? Do we tell them to stay away from even trying to find out about “Transparency” as its really non-existent, and they will be ridiculed and Oppressed? Do we tell them G.A. is set up for a few here who are on Power Trips to drain everyone else of time and passion for what they came here for: Government Corruption. Should we tell them they should avoid G.A.’s if they want to work on the passions we came together for, and then be told from people like you “why arent u at the G.A’s if you want to be part of the movement” ? And that if they have a job as a Janitor 4 nights a week, there is no way, they can really be a part of OWS

    • Christopher "Total" Guerra

      Bullshit! Who says you have to spend 30 hours in a working group? I know my WG isn’t like that. If you came here just to camp out and not do anything productive (Occupy hipsters, and the homeless). What’s the point of coming to OWS then? Sure we need to fix some stuff. When we started OWS, no one has ever done this kind of thing before. I don’t blame OWS for the mistakes because this is a learning process. Your argument sounds exactly like a GOP strategist would say to try to cause OWS to eat itself. Here’s the solution. IF YOU DON’T LIKE HOW OWS IS RAN….THEN LEAVE! START A NEW NATIONAL MOVEMENT. STOP CAUSING OWS AND IT’S PEOPLE FROM MOVING FORWARD. It’s a waste of all of our time.

      • Justin Samuels

        Christopher:

        OWS is supposedly an inclusive movement. its supposedly about the 99%. So how can you tell Cynthia to leave the movement just because you disagree with her concerns, if this is truly a movement for the 99%?

        She did not say you have to attend 30 hours in a working group. However, there was a point when we had three spokes councils a week, plus 4 Gas. That was 7 days a week, and at that level, that is a JOB as spokes and GAs at that point where easily 4 hours. A lot of people did get burned out. 7×4 is 28 hours, and that’s not counting working groups and a march.

        If people cannot attend GAs or spokes due to time comments such as work, children, school, etc, then quite clearly OWS is not a movement for the 99%. At that point OWS becomes a group of people who hang out with each other.

        Now, mind you, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with OWS becoming subculture or wanting to make its own separate society. But if that’s the route it wants to take, then OWS quite clearly does not represent the 99%.

        And don’t get me wrong, OWS has done some very good things as a social movement. I’ve met all types of people in OWS, from homeless to upper middle class. That normally doesn’t happen in society. Just in getting people to mingle occupy has gone great.

        • Craig Stephens

          Justin,

          You’re argument about OWS not being representative of the 99% is completely fallacious. The fact of the matter is that individuals with commitments such as work, children or school CAN attend GAs, marches and participate in this movement. Individuals choose their own level of participation and it is their responsibility to prioritize their time and activist in a way that works for them. It isn’t the responsibility of OWS to curb its activities to cater to all participants. Obviously because of personal responsibilities an individual with such commitment cannot become a career activisit but OWS isn’t only made up of career activists.

          Also, I think you are really missing the point. The 99% stands for anyone and everyone who isn’t of the 1% or, in other words, anyone who isn’t a billionaire or corporation…I think that covers quite a lot of people and to say that any one person in OWS isn’t included in that message is totally 100% incorrect.

          And while I don’t agree with Christopher’s aggressive stance, I have to say that some of what he has posted shouldn’t be shrugged off because of the packaging. OWS is a movement of the people and as such, no one person or group and tell any other person or group what to do. Again, no one needs anyone elses approval to hold a GA or act autonomously. If individuals within OWS are so opposed to the methods of discourse their comrades have adopted then make that dsiagreement known and then consider alternatives or, better yet, create alternatives. Attempting to go in with a wrecking ball because YOU don’t feel want to participate in a particular way is irresponsible. Check the ego and shift gears from destructive to constructive. :)

          • Justin Samuels

            @insideowt and @direkconek

            The problem with choosing one’s level of participation is that if working people can attend only one GA a week, for example, it means that those who do not work have their interests fully repped in the meetings since they attend all the time. Those who work, go to school, etc are therefore marginalized.

            If tomorrow there was something extremely important to occupiers future was being voted on and I have to work, clearly my input into that process is lost as I cannot vote on it. The GA and Spokes really assume we all live together in a community and have no life out of it.

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          I still don’t get this concept that one HAS to attend every meeting. It’s no more required than voting in every election.

          • Justin Samuels

            Because if an important matter is up for vote, I may not be able to attend due to other obligations. And therefore my voice cannot be heard.

            I was there when the GA voted for the spending freeze. But suppose I had to work that night. I would have been locked out of an extremely important decision for occupiers.

      • sumumba

        asking people to ‘leave’ the movement when they raise a concern or have issue is NOT constructive or gonna help this movement grow…as i’ve said before we need to STOP fetishsizing what this is and face reality and either to grow and help movement grow or step back and listen to the concerns of all the people who raised them, people like Cynthia come from a section of our city that is also part of the 99% and are the ones we need IN our movement…

  37. Alexa Grace

    I also find that comment quite offensive, and second what LP said. I think these issues with the GA need to be addressed, but to dissolve the GA would absolutely be a reckless decision. I also think that these “mental illness” comments that keep coming up just prove even more-so that there’s an issue with people being marginalized. I don’t know Trish personally, its not my place to judge, but I don’t judge anyone, especially having a long and rocky history with so called “mental illness” myself. The issue here is, even if someone was mentally ill, which by the way, is not something you get to diagnose, to marginalize them because of that is wrong. To marginalize voices that are so traditionally marginalized in our society is counterproductive not just to OWS but to any radical movement. To attack someone simply for being “mentally ill” just adds to the stigma that we have carried around with us for centuries. If youre going to attack someone, do us all a favor and at least attack them on specific points or actions that they have made that you disagree with. Its quite offensive not just to the person your attacking, but those of us who, as LP said, are working very hard to remove the stigma surrounding these issues.

    • beth

      People with mental illness require treatment before they can participate properly in GA and Spokes, otherwise GA and Spokes will be very difficult to function. It is not marginalization to stop them from participation in GA and Spokes if they have mental illness. It is marginalization only if they are of sound mind and they are stopped from participation in GA and Spokes.

      BTW, I agree that attacking people with mental illness instead of caring for them is not acceptable. But I believe that people with mental illness should not be allowed in GA and Spokes until they have recovered.

      • Urbaned

        That’s not possible, Beth. Because people with mental illnesses cannot see them. It’s more like ego issues that are the problem. That is why the movement SHOULD adopt a method of interpersonal relating, such as Butler’s, that can help all of us learn.

        • beth

          The consensus model is based on the premise that the people are reasonable. If the people act unreasonably, there will be disruption. Disruptors have to be punished to make the consensus model works.

          • Alexa Grace

            So your saying that if someone grapples with a mental illness every day of their life, then their opinion in the GA is less valid until they receive the treatment that society imposes? Even a huge amount of therapists and psychiatrists in the industry in this day and age agree that their system is broken and that pharmaceuticals are exceptionally detrimental to the health of many. So if you’re saying that the voices of the mentally ill are less valid until they receive treatment, that is the definition of marginalization. Yes, mental illness is absolutely an issue in all of our communities. But A, here is not the place to address your concerns about people, although I doubt if you actually cared about someones well-being, you would make rude jokes about the illness they struggle with or use an internet forum to address that. And B, the archaic comments I have read here regarding people struggling with these illnesses just show that people certainly don’t have a good enough understanding of what it actually means to struggle with these illnesses to judge whats best.

            Many of us have been abused at the hands of the psychiatric industry. Many of us just need a friend to sit down with us away from all the chaos and ask us to our faces if were okay and let us vent the inferno that is blazing in our minds. Not pharmaceuticals that will in the long run cause diabetes, liver conditions, Tardive Dyskinesia among many other side effects, often cutting our life expectancy to many years shorter than the average American. I am not suggesting that these drugs can not be infinitely useful in the right circumstances, but they are not a solution. So to marginalize the voices of those such as the mentally ill which have been so traditionally marginalized is really defeating. And yes, to tell someone that they can not participate in any decision making process because you deem them unstable is marginalization. Since so many of us came to this movement hoping to build the changes we carry every day with us in our hearts, its exceptionally defeating to be told that in order to participate or have a voice heard in OWS we need to accept the current abusive state of the Psychiatric industry.

            I agree with needing some kind of method of personal relations or even putting some community based mental health supports in place, that can just talk and provide a friendly face and maybe refer to psychiatric services only if absolutely necessary. Maybe using an based model? But if you have concern about a fellow occupier, how about asking them to their face if they need a friend to talk to instead of making antiquated comments and jokes about mental illness on the internet that are downright offensive not just to them, but to anyone in this movement who has ever struggled with these issues? Everyone’s voice needs to be heard for consensus to work. Stable or unstable.

          • Sean McKeown

            @Beth,

            I believe you mean well but completely misunderstand the role of conflict in consensus. There have to be shared agreements of how we will communicate – no name-calling or otherwise seeking to bait or enflame others, no jumping stack – but none of these are predicated on a standard of “mental wellness”. I know people who call out “cocksucker!” or “motherfucker” seemingly at random at GA’s, but that doesn’t mean they have Tourette’s syndrome. The problem is not mental wellness, per se, but self-control. If “mental fitness” were a requirement for participation, OWS would be four white dudes sitting in a room right now not talking to each other.

            In the context of OWS, “disruption” occurs not when the ‘sane’ brush up against the ‘unstable’ but when the cooperative use of resources (time, attention, etc.) is instead shifted to a competitive model because of failure to abide within the protocols that keep the ‘game’ of ‘process’ a “fair” one that is worth abiding by (because no one else is cheating). Disruption has a habit of cascading not because of mental instabilities – the so-called ‘sane’ are just as likely to participate in disruptive activity once it has reared its head – but because as each individual realizes the game is unfair and chooses to step outside of the protocols to revert it to “fairness” and get “their equal share” instead of waiting patiently for the disruption to finish and proper protocol to return, it runs further and further away.

            We don’t need sanity. We do need patience.

          • Justin Samuels

            @smckeown Sanity, and experienced leadership is needed. Can the broken Spokes and the useless GA come up with effective strategies to protect occupiers from the police? I think not!

            Any serious movement has leaders who are knowledgable, experienced, and who have various other desirable skills and traits.

            In OWS, where an idiot has equal ranking to a genius, you cannot get good ideas or strategies out or executed. So meanwhile, OWS is reduced to police confrontations, when its overall message about economic injustice gets lost.

            And meanwhile, lets be honest, those getting arrested and constantly beaten up by the police are the homeless. The ones that occupy never tried to direct to professional services.

          • Justin Samuels

            @alexagrace

            While mental illness can be biochemical, mental illness is often a function of how people are treated. People who are abused or otherwise degraded by society tend to have more issues like depression.

            Many in the mental health profession would agree that providing people STABLE housing does a long way to help in the treatment of mental illness. Getting people into better environments, as opposed to sleeping in churches that kick you out at 7am or sleeping in parks would certainly help put people in better moods.

            People who are homeless are marginalized due to lack of money/resources, and marginalization in and of itself causes emotional damage.

            OWS, is a pretty bad environment for those who have mental illness, because a lot of the community would like to ignore that it even exists.

  38. sumumba

    ummmmm ^i’ve proposed that a VIOLENT offender who’s admitted to being MENTALLY ILL get NATURAL AND OR HOMEPATHIC medicines and treatments which he consented to in front of the GA, but STILL it somehow got shot down and this person is STILL allowed to attend the GA, i DON’T get that, this person has attacked SEVERAL people in the movement either verbally or physically but he’s STILL allowed to remain as part of the community…i guess someone has to DIE or REALLY get hurt bad before we address mental illness in our movement eh?

    • Craig Stephens

      “asking people to ‘leave’ the movement when they raise a concern or have issue is NOT constructive or gonna help this movement grow…” -You

    • Justin Samuels

      @sumumba since many in the movement hate the “system” there are those who deny mental illness even exists. A big portion of the community would just like to ignore mental illness, unfortunately.

  39. sumumba

    yep but i said when they RAISE A CONCERN OR HAVE A ISSUE..maybe i shoulda added that .VIOLENT issues call for that person to be removed…maybe u ‘craig stephens’ need to be a VICTIM of violence to understand…but it has no place in this movement or life actually…and if u have been a victim of violence perhaps a little compassion for other victims would be in order? ijs

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      Remember what I said about autonomous action? The GA has spoken again and again and again…. it’s clear that right now we as a group think whatever we figure out in the moment to prevent bodily harm is preferable to set rules. I can deal with that.

      People are fooling themselves if they think that doesn’t mean that at some point someone’s gonna get yoked because they are a danger to others though…. I strongly recommend having SOME kind of an agreement and procedure in place if vigilantism isn’t your cup of tea.

      Just sayin’.

      • sumumba

        tactics and strategy…agreed..how we gonna call ourselves ‘revolutionaries’ with NO discipline and allow our own members to be attacked?

  40. Alexa Grace

    Keep in mind that I am by no means condoning violence. Violence and “mental illness” are two completely different things. Its an antiquated stereotype. All I’m saying is that these stereotypes marginalize entire groups and hold us back as a movement. While many of those who have a tendency to get violent or cause disruptions may struggle with “mental illness,” many don’t. Not to mention that most of the so called “mentally ill” will never get violent. I don’t know how many of you have seen the “Mindful Occupation” zine that was put together, but if people haven’t, maybe distribution could be useful.
    http://mindfuloccupation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/mindful-ocupation.pdf

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      Like I said at the GA where all the ish went down: Why not just tell *Sage* to take *Sage’s* meds and and leave everyone else out of it?

      Regardless of the invalidity and harmfulness of stereotypes, lots of people saw an actual person who has certainly been diagnosed with mental issues in the past commit an actual act.

  41. Sage

    GA and SC are never going to go silently into that good night. But they will tuck their tales between their legs and follow along with what ever the crowd is doing. I really want to look into the yes of any one who would take the last 30 grand left to occupy wall street and spend it on stuff that never worked all this winter.

    Will the GA or SC ever see the need for portable laundry bags for Occupiers?
    http://gizmodo.com/5895387/scrubba-your-clothes-with-this-washing-machine-in-a-bag
    Or repaired bikes acquired through affinity channels with Times-Up so we can dumpster dive enough food to feed the movement forever?
    Will SC or GA will never be able to foster the kind of micro-organic developments that are vital to a grass roots revolution. We can dissolve capitalism and the homogeneous hegemony. We never got a change to occupy wall street. Liberty Square was where Occupy Wall Street settled, temporarily. Union Square is also temporary. All land possession should be seen as a temporary stewarding of the commons, imo.

    My heart is swelling at the thought that some might read this and understand.
    Let’s have skillshares, lets have workshops, lets have conversations. Let’s take uo space. Let Us Occupy.

    • Craig Stephens

      The GA and SC likely wont be going anywhere because they are a body formed by activists within the OWS movement. In and of themselves, the GA and SC are concepts and without bodies to populate them, take no form.

      Portable laundry bags are a great idea, why not request the funds for them and setup that system? All your other ideas are great as well, why have they not been moved forward? Is it because you have these ideas but don’t know how to implement that or get what you want?

      Skillshares (Working Groups), Workshops (teach-Ins), conversations (working groups, teach-ins, da, ga). We’ve been having all of these things since September 2011. If you could join us and join in, everyone could benefit from your good ideas.

      • Justin Samuels

        Teach ins and conversations are excellent ideas, and that’s the best part of occupy. Conversations with everyone that occurred in Zuccotti in the fall were wonderful.

        I think having a group of activists hang out in the park during the day or evening is great outreach to the public. Sleeping in parks at nights attracts cops, and the city government and NYPD will never allow long term living in the parks. Individually outside occupiers should not sleep together as a group. It just never works.

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          Strategically speaking, it is quite the conundrum. Sleeping in a single space makes sharing resources easier and makes providing security for those who are sleeping easier…. OTOH decentralization of everything is what makes us so resilient. I don’t see a cut and dried solution, but it would be good if we were all cognizant of the puzzle these facts pose.

      • Sage

        Why are my ideas not moved forward? I don’t think I can describe in words what happens to a good idea at the GA. You have to experience it for yourself.

        • Craig Stephens

          Sage, really?

          I’ve personally co-facilitated 9 GAs and attended many more. I’ve actually never seen you propose anything. That doesn’t mean that you haven’t, just that I’ve never seen it. Most of the time you are interested in interrupting the flow of information and idea sharing to assert your personal critique or opinion of the GA, direct democracy or proposal being discussed. I’ve seen many good ideas passed at a GA and have experienced how Direct Democracy can shape ideas for the better. I’ve seen it first hand because I’ve been present and open, willing to listen and to learn. I’ve checked my ego for the sake of communal growth.

          Also, it is worth mentioning that no one needs the approval of the GA or SC to do anything. If you want to implement your ideas, do it. Fundraise and make your ideas a reality. You don’t need permission from anyone.

          • Sage

            I can tell you I have never made any proposals. Maybe it was the fact that I have a hard time asking for help or admitting any kind of weakness ever.

            But it might also be that the early GA required you to find 4 people who weren’t busy already but cared enough to join a working group.

            It might be because I have a lot of emotional baggage and whenever I DO open my mouth to ask for help it just sounds like me screaming DONT ABANDON ME DONT ABANDON ME YOU ABANDONING ABANDONERS, no matter how I phrase it.

            But observing what happens to other peoples ideas, such as the bike instead of metro cards proposal clues me in that it might actually be the GA which is at least equally dysfunctional.