Minutes (Skeleton) 30 October 3 pm – 5 pm P&ER WG

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This is a skeleton document–each participant is invited to fill in their name and any missing points as desired.

Co-Facilitators Self-Selected

Valeria (sp?) and Sam

Scott – Stack taker

Stefan – Time keeper

Agenda read

3 visitors from Cincinnatti, one from Kingston NY one from Oakton VA

3 Proposals to be considered after routine business

01  Promoting General Assembly process for all levels of government (Valeria)

02  Promoting 99% candidates for offices at all levels (Zach)

03  Considering & Disseminating for Consideration by All Occupy Groups, Electoral Reform Act of 2012 (Robert)

27 October minutes summarized with three highlights

01  Experimenting with an alternative system of voting

02  Creating a viral campaign to call for a Constitutional Convention

03  Elevating Electoral Reform proposal to General Assembly

Cinninatti visitors invited to comment, Tyron speaking

+  Attended facilitation meeting, NY P&ER agenda inclusion of electoral reform peaked interest, attending weekly meeting as observers

Kingston visitor (Valeria) commented

+ Kingston includes Woodstock, striving to do outreach events, self as write-in candidate for County Executive, campaigning on platform of bringing General Assembly into County Executive.  Coordinating with Occupy Albany that works in a 100 mile radius [or diameter?].  Support taking money out of the Bank of America.


Tim – Voting experiment: plurality voting is the norm, but has ingrained a two-party state [there are 65 parties in the USA].  Alternative voting is superior but no one has tested.  Seeking IPad as a voting bookth, software being written.

Tim – Electoral reform:  two page summary of group’s reflections and specifics handed out, copied faithfully from Tim’s Pad document

Comment made that indigo ink available and could be used to enable anonymous voting.

Strong comment made against anonymous voting. (Valeria)

Comment made that there are more than one documents stemming from prior electoral reform discussions, need to consolidate.  Tim accepted role as consolidator [includes Robert’s submission, last item of business below]

Viral campaign [Jesse]:  Online forum is where most of the ideas are developing.  Congress is what is broken and therefore the people need to demand an outside Constitutional Convention to change Congress.  There is a clear division within OWS between anarchists who want nothing to do with any government, and reformists who want to restore the Republic.  Call for a Constitutional Convention is first step toward addressing grievances.  While there is concern that it could become a “runaway” convention, this is considered moot as the process will temper all propositions.  Have drafted a mission statement.  Question remains: what would a viral campaign look like?

Concern expressed over Google groups as a medium of exchange.

PROPOSAL [Scott]:  To create a subgroup to clarify process for the working group.  P&ER is a key group, how P&ER does business could impact on all of OWS and send a very clear message on new protocols for direct democracy.  Posting living document has been helpful in garnering inputs and allowing for sequential organization.


+  Everyone needs to understand the facilitation process.  Always ask yourself, what is the good of this for the group, for the movement?  It is a new way of relating. (Valeria?)

+  Need online process, most of the work is done online. (Stefan, Sam, others)

+  Need to leave process open but orient newcomers so they are constructive vice destructive.

+  Real concern over newcomers or occasional participants exercising a blocking function, unwarranted or excessive negative influence.

+  There is a proposal online for how to deal with this, will be presented at next meeting.

+ [Tim]:  Online should be totally open but one should be physically present to present a proposal or to take part is direct discussion and decisions.

+  Question remains, how to give voice to online proposals where the person is not physcially present.

PROPOSAL:  (Valeria) Promoting GA in Government at All Levels.  What is happening now is what happened when previous generations left feudalism.  We are leaving corporate feudalism.  We get better as we go.  World Social Forum is an example, first US national social forum in Chicago, 25,000 attended, idea is to go from local to national to global social forums.  Major shift in how we are relating as people.  This proposal calls for GA to be implemented at all levels of government across all issues, while also proposing that we support candidates (of any party affiliation) who commit to making this part of their platform.  GA makes people more cooperative, more engaged.

HUGE IMPORTANT QUOTE:  “Leaderless society is a society where all people are leaders.”

Comment:  NY State Assembly up for re-election in 2012.

Comment:  Interest in forming a new national party to field candidates in 2012.

Stack:  Proposal for a national GA is from the 99% declaration, idea is to form a new / alternative government.

+ Cincinnati politics party is part hurdles and real.

+  Need candidates in multiple states to be considered a national party.

+  Need direct democracy candidates

+  Need cohesion in national GA ideas

+  Need system for developing strategy and new system ideas

+  Need outreach to 99% Declaration Working Group from P&ER

+  Need to give voters good options, not just the two-party options

+  Occupy the Ballot web site worth a look. (Zach)

+  Comment [Tim]: No real need for a new party, just encourage candidates of any party willing to adopt the GA philosophy.

+  Need to try to find unity amidst all the ideas

Zack will do the 99% platform for GA

PROPOSAL:  (Zach) – Promoting 99% candidates for offices at all levels

consensus to start subgroup combining this proposal with Valeria’s and other’s related.

PROPOSAL:  Recommended draft statement of demand and draft Electoral Reform Act of 2012 presented in hand-out form.  Robert’s presentation recorded with consent of group (no one else in the film) and will be posted shortly.  Robert is taking this concept to all Occupy groups but will defer to NYC GA if they choose to establish their own combination and then promulgate to all other Occupy groups.

Karen:  Most ballot laws are state-based.  Robert: this is understood.  This is why OWS has to have a national, state, and local system for exerting pressure.

Summary of Commitments




Robert:  Minutes by midnight

3 Responses to “Minutes (Skeleton) 30 October 3 pm – 5 pm P&ER WG”

  1. Anne

    Establishing an “alternate” form of government is an act of secession, fyi. It constitutes rebellion, not reform. The group we’re in is called “Politics and Electoral Reform” not “Secession and Rebellion.” The last time an “alternate government” was formed led to the US Civil War. Wondering if people are really aware of what they are suggesting when they state they are forming an “alternate” government, if they are aware this would be a secession movement. You can’t just decide you will no longer follow the laws and Constitution of the US while still living here and think this will be a peaceful gesture. It is an act of rebellion. Although in principle I think the US would be more democratic if it was broken up into smaller countries, the reality is that this would entail a war in which hundreds of thousands of people would be killed and there would be massive destruction. Ths USA is not going to just let a group of people establish an “alternate” government in the US.

  2. Robert David STEELE Vivas

    My reviews of books on secession can be found here Secession & Nullification (19)

    Secession is a legitimate option, and Vermont is the most serious about this possibility. Secession is also the last resort, intended to assure the consideration of deep legitimate grievances. In my view Lincoln violated the constitution in suspending habeas corpus, recruiting Americans to fight Americans, refusing to accept the war of secession (a civil war is for control of the whole enchilada, a war of secession is to establish independence much as the USA fought the revolutionary war to be free of British tyranny. The South was looted for twelve years after the war by carpet bagger, and in passing, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Lincoln with great reluctance–he wanted to send the slaves back to Liberia–and did not free the slaves in the West or South.

    An alternative government, e.g. a Sunshine Cabinet [http://tinyurl.com/CoalitionCabinet] is not a form of rebellion, it is a form of inspired asymmetric challenge to the corruption entrenched in the two-party tyranny now. I sincerely believe that electoral reform, followed by a constitutional amendment, can get the USA back on track, and serve as a process model for the rest of the world — it was inspiring to see Egyptians protesting in favor of OWS the other day.

    Regarding my own contributions to this group, I have done what I set out to do personally, turning over the homework so many of us have done over the past 20 years, and it is all now in the hands of the working group to whatever end it chooses to go. I hope NYC GA is both a local effective model, and a global effective model. I believe everyone else is looking to NYC GA as a model, and that electoral reform is the one thing we can all agree on (including members of the 63 parties shut out from ballot access, the Independents, the moderates in the two controlling parties), and that is not in conflict with everything else.

    You all have my very best wishes and hopes for your astounding success.

  3. Anne

    I don’t know if I can be more clear. Let me try. Reforms, such as amending the Constitution, establishing a third political party (actually there already are a number of alternate parties including the Libertarians and the Greens), campaign finance legislation, etc. are all allowed under the Constitution, hence, they are reforms not rebellion. Establishing an alternate government with its own Constitution and own Assembly, means leaving the US as the US is founded under the Constitution and the Constitution spells out the form of our government including the Congress etc. If you form a DIFFERENT GOVERNMENT it is an act of secession/rebellion, not a proposed reform to the current system. This is a crucial distinction; if people are unclear about this distinction our conversations will just be a Tower of Babel. Reforms are acts that can be done under the Constitution (and can include amending the Constitution). Opposing the US Constitution is an act of rebellion.