Minutes from Oct 23 Teach-in part 1

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Reporting for yes magazine, asks to set in.


Yesterday it was decided that the guy from the new york times couldn’t sit in on the meeting


Yes magazine is an alternative eprogressive mag, different character than the new york times.  Im comfortable with movement meda not mainstream media.  New york times is horrible in what were doing and creates division within the movement


Every idea that is not hashed out can not be brought to to the main stream media


Temperature check on yes magazine is concensus of yes


History of proposal is presentd on Friday, 16 blocks, organized teach in and discussion everyday 2pm until weds when go back to ga with new proposal with some amendments in it..  Yesterday general airing of concerns, talked about laungage relative authority, history of proposal, structure working group had worked on, why choices were made and around what.  Ended with role of ga and spokes council, division of rights and responsibilities


Take proposals around language or discussion we can put in between relationship of ga and spokescouncil


Language I feel sould be proposed in the concept is language I’ve added within concept of the proposal set fourth, for spokes council.  In order to provide the general assembly around the world with a clarifying instructions in order to occupy democratically and continue with leaderless model, the reason for this is not ony that images work, images are accessable in different languages as opposed to trying to take this document and create something in Chinese something in Arabic, that has the same purpose and is defined with the same ideas.  I think that the language needs to be visual I think that the language that we present at the ga should show very little verbage.  In order to keep this idea moving forward and organic.


I hear you and I think one of the thing we will settle is on how to make it clearer.  Right now we want to talk about the actual language


The lanague will be visual, idea doesn’t come in languae in dutch, it comes in images so that they don’t need to read it.


Is anyone else here who is with the press who wants to identify them selves


David gains a local film maker, member of couple different marches, not resided in zucotti, hired by producer who not in new york comes from friend seen work and like it a lot.  He has a website with instructional videos.  Would like to make a free video on the traits of non violent protest, the type of things that work.  Not really documenting ows proper. We are intervewing todd gitman founding member of sbs.

Temperature check on filming,  Some discomfort with that, probably not going to happen.  There are other ways to get process.


We don’t think this is the right forum, or the right meeting.  We have been discussing informational videos in media.


If you are uncomfortable with I under stand, will leave my contact info


Were discussing things that aren’t hashed out.


We allowed yes magazine to stay, bu the person couldn’t stay to film.


Now we have a lot of people who have came in.  I encourage you to say your name to speak for the sake of the minutes.  The agenda today is that were going to be discussing lanaguge between GA and spokes council that would make people feel OK about it.  Rights and responsibilities.  Id like people to speak to that issue


Anyone else wants to get on stack on language?


Vegan food and cookies introduced


Zefer: I’m agnostic about the relationship, Explicit language saying ga can amend the power of the spokes council.  The ga has the power to amend the charter granting the sc the power.  Second amendment ga has power to demand report from sc on fiscal responsibilities.


Suresh:  This is just my take on how you might be able to replace that paragraph relationship.  The ga will continue to have ability to make all deisions, empower sc to make certain logistical and budget decisions related to day to day functioning of occupation and deeper understanding of the releveat issues.  Does not speak to whether ga can dissolve or not.


Clarifying questions?


Ian:  see amendment process in the charter the whole question about ga retaining final on budget issues.  Relationship as soon as it takes budget authority then its taking it, and the ga is just a forum for us.  I have some very real issues with that.


Alexi:  I wonder if that relationship with ga can be rsolved by amending to say you cant be in sc more than , so it be rotating, cant be in 2 or 3 consecutive sc.


POI:  Spokes people rotate any meeting.  Anyone can attend any meeting.


POI:  trying to get point across that the spokes are exchangeable if you disagree then everyone can rotate them out.


POI:   says its mandatory.  Their wouldn’t e a leader, and their grup memers would be in attendance to hear whats being said.  They would be able to check power that arisesl


POI:  from arts and culture group, my group unable to come until 6.  we have an issue with this because I’m the only one able to come.


Were suggesting SC meets during evening in week so most accessible for those who work


Daryl:  to me in terms of having spokes to talk about budget concerns is you have group involved in day to day decisions.  Have convo in clusters someone can put fourth all their issues and in the open forum have concentrated person.  Have deeper level of discussion 15 or 18 people.  Its very limiting, its look intimidating to have a meeting like this.  I feel the question whether their should be reporting to GA from SC is not necessary.  A report needs to come out of every single discussion to make sure financial reporting is out there and ga can retain ability to investigate or ask certain questions when it seems to be its not in line with the ga wants.


Direct response:  I think your right. Meeting is to address emotional concerns, its like state of union provision in constitution.


POP:  Refram from using governmental standards in this action because it hasn’t worked and is proven not to work.


You know it hasn’t worked.


Direct Response:  I have to disagree.  This is one way or another.  We need to understand frames of reference of other governments failed or otherwise to understand this syteem of governance


We don’t have a military, we don’t have any mechanism of enforcement, its anorganization and system of decision making but not necessarily governance, its self management and decisions.


We talk about report backs to the GA, I ge the feeling people think this is exclusive council, when you think about it, everyone who can attend SC is everyone who attends the GA, were gonna live stream it.  Anyone in a working group or occupies camp can participate actively.  They rotate and discuss each agenda item.  Reporting back is strange for me, because they are reporting back to the same people who were at the earlier meeting.  Want to make that clear when talking about transparency.


I scrub floor, seurity, I am not in a woring group proper, where does that leave me.


What if I want to remain totally autonomous and continue what im doing and go around to the people I work to.


Evan DR:  I’m from open source, were working on some applications like a skill bank based on indiviudla profile, get to a point where working groups remain tags to individuals.  This is one of the weaknesses of the SC is that it requires this group affiliation, and doesn’t account very well for inner group working.


Were getting a lot of DR to every point that comes up and so a bunch of people are on stack.  Theres no one on stack right now.


Gene:  Were not official a group and been here since day 1 and bring a lot of ppl.  No one gives any money.  I am here from trauama not really a group, no paper work filed.  We bring in a lot of ppl, give up all our money.  Its an interactive thing has nothing to do with music, its spiritual.  The point Im making is they have made it so difficult for us to continue doing that.


This isn’t relevant to this discussion.


Back to agenda, relationship between GA and SC.  We also needs to happen to inviduals that are autonomus and don’t fall into the working group.


Clarifiying point:  Also have to understand we need representation from people from a working group.  The level of experience gathered from doing the same task every week is valuable.  Have to understand that working groups need certain level of branding.  Having experience and relationships, a steady one with finance for example.


Press, Hi I’m Jessica from the wall street, Journal I’ve been covering you from the first day.


Are there people who are opposed.  Yes there is some discomfort


WNYC is here as well.   Is there any other press here?


Are there peole here who are uncomfortable with media?


Temperature check is that press can stay.


Back to conversation about this language.


Request to do an outline of the SC.


Bill:  work in press relations, I’ve started to get questions from other ppl in the group.  Issue of voting on something that I didn’t know about.  There is a sence that needs to clarified openly with the GA that SC effort to establish itself as a model has come from a group that has separated it group from the GA, and presenting form the outside to the in.  I don’t know who a lot of you are, and I don’t know where it came from.


There is a long history behind it.  So we’ll explain it again.

Marissa:  I’m an anarchist, believe in horizontal process, and concention of power.  SC model is in that tradition.  Google you can see it comes from that history.  I’ve been involved in GA from august 2’nd on.  60-80 of us met in thompsons square park discussed how we will operate.  Discussed we wanted to use modified process to get most participation possible.  On Sept 17th we came and had as our action the assembly in zucoti park which is a backup location.  Had an assembly and people there, 1000 at the time decided to stay there.  About 3 days in we decided in order to move forwad we would use modified concensus 9/10s.  we needed to move from 3/4s to 9/10s and have been using since day 3.  had some working group part of GA from beforehand that carried over, now there are new ones, and were trying to track them.  Meeting 2 weeks ago to address structional conerns.  People need schedules of working groups, and other problems to figure out a way to move forward.  That would allow us to grow but keep GA horizontal structure.  Initially came out of facilitation as informal discussions.  Then we started having public work shops and the history and application of them.  Then we brought to GA on 2 occasions.  1 where we talked about transparency, grievances.  2nd one we got suggestions on structural solutions and SC was mentioned around that, along with other models beyond SC.  Finally on thurs we came together with proposal very similar to this and brought to GA and had break out groups.  Even beore that went around to various working groups and had someone at coordination meetings talking about this.  There were informal meetings before beginning this, and a failure of the process, but this has been addressed.


Back to stack


This is a teac-in and it feels like a facilitation meeting.  How do you want this to go.  Should we be responding to questions or should we be taking stack?  Whats more effective.  I’ve never done a teach in but it seems like a regular meeting to me.


Evan:  may be best to imply that SC is more original or a better entity, but rather a proposal to bring more order that may or may not be institutied.  I am feeling a emotional attachment to the people who are pitching SC as they are the original creators from the movement.  Is it the SC working group or structure working group?
This is the first of our proposals.  There can be a different system in a months time.  Right now the GA has some serious issues and we feel this is a step forward.


Back to stack


Theres a reason that the media is here, because this is the single most important decision.  If you look at the global spokes for the movement globally.  I personally don’t question your intensions and you have done amazing work.  I want to say one thing about when you refer to the failure of the process, the reason you want to get the language right is that there is human failure in processes, as this is life.  Your protecting the entire body as this is the best of nuiances.  I have one last question about getting feedback on the language for that paragraph.


We are first doing these questions because there are so many new faces here.



We announced at ga on Friday we’d have meetings every day Friday at 2, I’d be happy to stay


Nothng is perfect in life, ga is not perfect, but we come together as people as movement as people as movement to make decision togeterh s people. What if we all deciding to to dothis and it fails. What if its worse? What if it fails? What do we do?



No system is perfect. This system could have failures too but it is definitely a way for a decentralized group of people to actively participate and make decisions so its in keeping with the culture of the gA, if it doesn’t work, the structure work will be going on—we took an amendment that the GA could dissolve the spokescouncile.



We have a group with no leader, this group having a cluster, this is building to be like the American system. That’s my fear



It sounds weird, it is a spoke, it is totally different than representative democracy that is totally corporate and capitalist and we associate…. Spokes are not representatives, they have no ability to make autonomous decisions…they are not standing… members can hear everything that their spokes are saying… there will be rotation among different working groups and caucuses. I could be in many different working groups and rotate between those groups and clusters… there is a place for automony, place for decentralization of power, it is not a standing body it has no power… most of the power in this system resides in working groups and caucuses.



From open source. I wish I was there at the beginning, I wish I would have been able to fishing out amongst our friends… I think that the idea of how to manage ourselves in the general assembly is worthy—we have to look at our limitations, with perspectives from Madrid and Barcelona…I just want to say there are other possibilities before this. My thing is extremely radical. We’ve been hearing for a long time about he options available to us to make electronic voting possible… but electronic voting isn’t done in an instant… it would disrupt the way we do temperature checks. The way we’ve gotten into the problem is focus groups… corporations have done this doing technology. If I conduct a focus group meeting each one of you would have wireless in hand. If each of you thinks that the GA is the most important par tof OWS, although this process takes a long time, its workting, I think it makes sense. I just want to address that for $35,0000 we could buy 1000 nodes wireless and we’d vote in real time at the gA… we could raise our hand virtually… its called audience reposnse system. It exists. This is a direct complement to the GA process. Because we could manage 10s of thousands of devices… I’d just like to introduce that philosophy of extreme technology… its very hard to do direct democracy.



This is not a hierarchy.


Response: it’s a different body were we are choosing to discuss these issues. Right now we can’t hear eachother in the GA. If each of us had this device … there’s extreme options to fix our problems. If they cover this as a supertechnology that’s good publicity for us.



We should totally experiment on how to approve the GA.



I’ve actually worked with the strucgture working group. The spokesonculi wmodel speaks to another problem that we have. The GA is an attempt at direct democracy. For the people tho do tasks every day its very differnicutl to pass information between them…. Having to do tod that through the GA each and everyt time you make a decision is difficult… anyone whose trained anyone.. its slowing down. This will allow transparency and accountability to the GA. How to bridge?: they are sayin it will be supertransparent.. They should be required to come to the meetings so eveyrtone can see a response. There have one meeting a week at the GA for spokescouncil report backs. So that people can ask informed questions and way for sc to have real dialogue and have real accountability. It precludes the inclusivity of an internal group and allows flexibility and to develop the flexibility.



In the document… it states that the livestream will film broadcast every meeting and that working groups and caucuses will produce descriptions of themselves to the clusters which will also go on the site. Clusters will produce something similar to charter… and spokescouncil will decide whether the descriptions are adequate. We want to use technology and ave this as open as possible… anyone can join a working group. They are open groups0—we are trying to encourage more direct participation. Now there is such an influx of people… we want people to be engaged on the long term.



Do you envision these weekly report backs as difference… this is just for …. Its tough to have really good report backs for everything you did every day, it gives focus to the meeting. It provides a strucgure, if we are talking about antiwar etc… at the end of the week it gives spokes time to gather all the stuff… they should release that before the SC GA report back. If they have 24 hours before release all the reports it would give them stuff to digest to ask specific informed questions…. Take a look at lall the budgetary decision…. If they needed to take actions outsie. Just the queasreion and answer will create much more alignment.. will that be acceptable as a friendly amendment.



I would worry that it would take too much time.






I don’t understand the point.



I think it gives an active forum




I plan on bing informaed




Isn’t the GA supposed to be hearing of expenditures about things that impacts the commons and not hearing of reports.




Its not a clearly defined body. We did not very clearly define the parameters of the decisionmaking of the GA….We thought it would last a day or two… there has been exponential growth… we want to improve the GA and deal with rapid growth of groups and the movement.




Its an issue that needs to be raised … does it decide for the movement does it decide for the OWS or the people who live and use the services in the park.. Personally as an occupier, there are not many instances where it just affects the occupiers, but those that it does, when they have equal say. Peronally I think its not the body to make the fairenst body



This is about day to day. Thiere are these decisions that impact people there… one of the reasons that we have a major problem with our government… accountability still provides…. Allows flexibility ….  Allows for autonomy, if you put 40 50 hours a week .



I like this proposal. But how is the assignment of working groups to clusters… is that antidemocratic? I want to be able to answer that.



Its not the strucgure working  group to decide…. We have an idea that we want it to be small. The clusters will decide to accept a new working group if it fits with the working group and if it fits with what the cluster is about. It also is decided whether its thematic or orking… as cluster, they go to other clusters to see … its consensus. The structure group doesn’t really decide that. We didn’t want that to be decided at the GA. Caususus will not be one group, there will probably be POC caucus, a women’s caucus… there are different identifies.



Structure did a template version… key working groups, finance … template. They got it all lines up… shape the park so that it looked like that.



Two main points. Keep in mind that it came out of other places—other movements have been using this for a while, like the Zapatistas—I’ve seen this model in action before… its exciting…. The idea of spokes being mouthpieces and not representatives… They arent’ there defending their own position, its not from their point of view. That maintains the direct democracy principles that we are trying to maintain. As I understand it spokescouncil is just budgetary and logistic concerns.



I didn’t take notes on my own.



First meeting would make the decisions—within those clusters they will decide what is a valid working group or caucus. We want to decentralize that as much as



Amendment: one time per week there is a GA meeting for a report back for a question and answer session that is accountable to the GA, report back to spokescouncil to the GA, rport back no less than 24 hours before the start of the GA so that they can … very specifically slotted time for the report backs… Time for discussion.



One ime allotted in the GA for report backs. There will be written report no less than 24 hours before the meeting.




Would it be limited to one time per week?




It focuses on specific things, if you really want to know it during the week there is livestream… there will be ongoing report…. So there will be some level of reporting. There will be constant reporting throughout the week.



My hope for the GA that it can be more centered around the GA for thematic issues—there is nothing stopping it…. Free from deciding from laundry every stingl



I’d like to see the GA have an educational compeotnent… I think a releavant point for the GA would be a study of the American form of government… would educate on the history of decisions.


Temperature check on weekly spokescouncil report back with both written forms and 24 hours notice.


Point of information

Is part of this is specifying if not in GA or if not limited… it might look as if this is also a open debate about what happened.. This should be an announcement.



That’s inherent. Report backs and questions and answerw with specific time.




Suggestion would have a group of people affiliated who sit in could go to


Consensus on report back? Weekly report back?


We have consensus on that.


Consensus on budgets…spokes council responsible for budget decisions.  Language in that?



—-Cap on what the spokes council is authorized to do?

—-Clarifying scope? Just the occupation vs.

—-Concerned with efficiency and decision making?  GA’s are the spirit of the movement, with that dynamic it brings a lot to the party.  If we remove this, we reduce the importance of the GA which is a big mistake.



Original version had 2 GA’s, and it increased to 4?  But ppl didn’t show up for the 2 a day.


Spokes council migt have to make the big decisions around the camp.  So no budget cap for the big spending purchases.


The GA isn’t good for doing budgeting at all.


The larger body and new comers should always be reminded that they can contribute to all the working groups, etc.  Reduce redundancy not importance


DIRECT RESPONSE;  Flat decentralized model, big decisions should be with the people.


NO greater body,  no final authority, its about the kinds of decisions and how people are effected by these decisions.  These kinds of decisions should be with the GA, but day to day concerns like where the kitchen gets it’s food, should be made by those effected by those decisions most.


Direct response: What working groups effect the ppl on the ground?


Imagining many many working groups.  Definition of this is pretty loose.  Only comfort and kitchen do not only relate to the plaza, but also other occupations.


Spokes council is BOTH,


DIRECT RESPONSE: how to separate this from GA


Want to clarify different tasks and kinds of financial decisions are being made.


DIRECT RESPONSE;  See the GA as principals and elevating the discourse, but none of the functional operation what so ever.


Spokes council is about the OWS body.  Does things off-sight of the plaza, but work with all the groups.


Point of info Renee fro marts & council.  We have the same issue, 400 members online and in the occupation.  We started doing something similar, one day devoted to this or that.  This is working and helpful, be don’t get to go to the GA because we’re so busy.  Drummers are frustruated because approached by 15 different groups on how to handle the situation, we don’t have communication between working groups!!!


Vibe check;  There will no longer be working groups but making operations groups and issue groups.  Doing away with working group ideas, but instead operations groups and how the system works and issue groups pertain particular issues.


RESPONSE; Not sure about that idea because it gets complicated because many different aspects relate to our focus.


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