Politics and Electoral Reform OWS Group Meeting
10/23/11 3 p.m. Liberty Square (“Red
Introductions/Attendance: JackRabbit, Karen Young, Dan
Wolff, Scott, Wendelin, John Jaye, Steve, Jesse L., Ross Wolfe, Pam, Brian
Kuhn, Lucius Ringwald, Tim, Stan Williams, Ahmed, Sam Uddin, Casey Bowman,
(indecipherable), Brian, Tania, Anne R. , Alexa.
The guide to Process was presented and explained.
We discussed posting the minutes in the Documents section
and also putting it on a Twitter feed.
Discussion of previous meeting’s minutes.
Sam clarified that this group is a Thematic group, not a
The Voting Experiment was discussed. It was explained that
the Voting Experiment will involve an actual voting booth set up in Liberty
Square for the purpose of testing different ways of voting and comparing their
results. These results will be scientifically studied. Anne raised the issue of
whether anyone is qualified to do this and it was stated that Kay, who has been
working on the project, is a mathematician. The issue of preventing fraud was
raised. Registration or unique user IDs were suggested. The issue of funding
was raised. This will need to be addressed at a later date. Karen suggested
getting information from other groups who have already been working on
alternate voting mechanisms.
Jesse presented the “viral” campaign for a Constitutional
Amendment to get money out of politics. Jack suggested contacting groups
already working on this, a strategy meeting and a statement of purpose. There
is a Piratepad with a draft. Lucius suggested working with a group called “Getting
Money out of Politics.” Alexa explained that this would be for an Article V
Constitutional Convention. She expressed some concern about the “Getting Money
out of Politics” group’s leadership which has been affiliated with the Bahrain
government in some way, and another group (name?). Lucius disagreed and said he
found the groups’ leaderships to be credible. Someone noted there are a number
of groups around the country working on this we could contact. Scott suggested we develop slogans (“memes”)
for this campaign. Alexa stated that there are two ways to amend the Constitution,
one through Congress and another through thte states. Anne suggested we consult
a political scientist for expertise/authority/clarity.
The Electoral Reform proposal (13 items) was presented for
discussion/approval. Some items were clarified, including fusion voting and
proportional representation and the states’ role in determining Congressional
districts and representation in the Electoral College (clarifying that all the
items can be addressed on a state or local level, as specified in the preamble).
Brian stated that he is opposed to term limits. Alexa made a speech about union
corruption and suggested that unions be specifically mentioned in the preamble.
Tim suggested unions could be viewed as one of the “factions” mentioned in the preamble.
Lucius suggested not getting lost in details, as the document suggests
experimentation. Brian stated that he likes his member of Congress. Anne and
(who?) suggested explanatory paragraphs for the items and Brian K. agreed. Tim
stated these are available on the website. Hiam (sp?) spoke in favor of ballot
initiatives (referenda) and Jack disagreed. Tim suggested changing some wording
regarding this. John stated there will
be difficulty contextualizing this for OWS and Brian K agreed that this will
need work. Anne and Karen stated they liked the document overall and Karen
suggested adding a sentence to the preamble about how many other countries
already have many of these provisions. Lucius agreed. Scott noted we had spent
40 minutes discussing the proposal. Jack suggested removing the clause after “publicly
financed election campaigns.” Alexa suggested separating the demands before
presenting them to the GA. Lucius suggested that time is of the essence. John
suggested we need a separate discussion about how to approach the GA with this.
Alexa suggested building consensus among different GAs. A majority of the group found the Electoral
Reform document to be good overall and a majority also agreed it needs some
fine-tuning. The consensus was that we should spend more time working on it. This
can be done via the website. We agreed to revisit the proposal next Sunday.
Ross presented the Platypus Society’s request for an
endorsement/sponsorship for a panel discussion they are holding about “reconstituting
the Left.” The “Think Tank” OWS group is already on board. Several speakers
from a variety of Marxist persuasions and previous activist movements have been
lined up. Some concerns were raised: Casey and Alexa disliked the idea of
aligning ourselves with an ideological Left. Lucius disliked reinforcing the
idea of a binary “Left-Right” paradigm. Sam stated OWS should transcend labels.
Anne questioned whether this group has the authority to endorse another group
while functioning under the OWS banner. Jack said he liked the idea of building
coalitions with other groups. The group voted down a formal endorsement, but
agreed individual members can speak at the panel or pose questions to the
panel, which can be sent via Ross.
Casey briefly presented his proposal about expanding the
number of Representatives in the House of Representatives. We agreed to deal
with this as a first order of business at the next meeting.
Jack brought up several brief agenda items, which were voted
Clarify on the calendar that the daily meetings are info meetings. Agreed.
Thursday as additional day for official meeting. Agreed.
Meeting in an indoor space in the future. Agreed. Next Sunday we will meet at 60 Wall
Post minutes and distribute hard copies at beginning of next meeting. Some
disagreement about printing out numerous hard copies. Ahmed said he takes his
laptop with him everywhere, so people can view the minutes.
The Spokescouncil proposal was discussed, including the
implications for this group’s ability to get financing and promote our
proposals to the larger community.
The meeting was adjourned some time around 6 p.m.