This proposal is the product of many voices. Its drafters have sought to build a consensus of diverse views through open forum in Liberty Square, the daily Coordinators Meeting, the internet, and circulated with participation from many groups including Direct Action Working Group, Facilitation Working Group, Tech Ops, Outreach, Media, Press, InfoHub, Housing, Arts & Culture, Think Tank, OWS Works, Think Tank, Library, People’s Kitchen, Education & Empowerment, Town Planning, W.O.W Caucus, Structure, Safer Spaces, P.O.C Caucus, & the OWS Activist Legal Working Group.
Public Assembly has been the foundation of the people’s movement for social change since long before Occupy Wall Street, and after it caught fire on September 17th. We strive to be a leaderless, transparent, non-hierarchical, and non-violent movement which exercises direct democracy as the forum to organize our movement to change the world. Whenever the people come together, we call it General Assembly. It is not a governing body, for power lies not within any governing body, it lies with the people.
Structured Assemblies were created as spaces to have the discussions that our community wants to have. Currently the Occupy Wall Street community consists of Working Groups, Caucuses, Affinity Groups, The General Assembly, and The Operational Spokes Council. Each of these people-powered structures serves a distinct function. We want our structures to work for us in the most effective way possible.
This is a remarkably devoted community and we all devote a substantial amount of time, energy, and heart to the movement with the hope that it turns into a revolution. But given the recent atmosphere, many of us are experiencing activist burnout, communications and meeting overload.
Currently, we have scheduled seven mass assemblies per week – four General Assemblies and three Spokes Councils.
What if we were to wipe that slate clean, and rebuild a new model for the schedule of mass assemblies that would better suit our needs, our comfort, and the conversations that we need to have to forward the movement?
This proposal seeks to add to the conversation about how we as a community use our time when we come together, to nurture physical and intellectual spaces that allow us to have the conversations we need to as a movement, and to offer solutions to a clearly perceived set of needs.
This proposal is a humble suggestion, a beginning point to work from, and comes in the spirit of continuing progress and regularly rethinking our structures to suit our changing needs.
It is by no means all-inclusive, and aims to address only fundamental issues which we believe we can reach a consensus on right away.
This is a two-part proposal.
• All structures of assembly of the New York City General Assembly are, like ourselves, self-determining, equal in power, and without hierarchy, in that no one is subordinate to any other.
• We propose at this time that this assembly come to a consensus on when The General Assembly convenes. We offer a recommendation that it convene on Mondays and Thursdays at 6:00pm.
• We propose at this time that this assembly come to a consensus on when The Operational Spokes Council convenes. We offer a recommendation that it convene on Tuesdays and Fridays at 6:00pm.
• We empower the creation of new structures of public assembly to fill the space that has been created by having fewer assemblies throughout the week.
We offer some recommendations on what those might look like, and further propose at this time starting a discussion leading toward a wide-reaching consensus.
• Action Spokes Council: An assembly space focused on visioning for the future of the movement, positing the visions, goals, and messaging of the movement toward planning and coordinating actions to expand its reach, and to have the discussions necessary to build unity and solidarity toward a common direction for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
• Movement Building Cluster: An assembly to focus on building solidarity and to expand our community and our movement. It will convene once per week at a weekly changing location to coincide with communities throughout the five boroughs of New York City. This is an opportunity to foster relationships with those who wish to participate in the movement but are faced with barriers to entering OWS by bringing OWS to them; and can feature open fora, teach-ins, skill shares, community soapboxes, and relationship building.
• Open Space/People’s Soapbox: A facilitated open forum which allows space for discussion among the community at large that do not easily fit into other assembly spaces.
This proposal is simply a humble suggestion, a beginning point to work from, and comes in the spirit of continually making progress by revisiting and rethinking the tools available to us to suit our changing needs. It is by the community and for the community. We the proposers wholeheartedly welcome any and all changes to best suit our community and look forward to reaching a meaningful consensus together.
This document was drafted by:
519 Anonymous Contributors