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We are the 99 percent

To Consense or Not To Consense?

Posted 10 years ago on Feb. 11, 2013, 2:43 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: consensus

Since the inception of Occupy Wall Street in 2011, most public assemblies and working or affinity group meetings have adopted a formal or modified consensus model for decision making. This consensus model, as many general assembly participants are by now familiar, required all decisions passed by a “General Assembly” to enjoy the unanimous (formal consensus) or 9/10ths (modified consensus) support of its participants. The goal of this consensus model was that of allowing all concerns participants might have around any issue to be decided by the assembly. In this situation, it is possible for a very small percentage of the collective group to “block” or table any motion brought before the body. Instead of an up or down vote, rejected proposals would require being refined and reworked until all objections had been addressed.

Many have questioned the operating premises of this consensus building model citing the ease with which the process can be hijacked, diverted, or taken hostage by participants not operating in good faith or with hidden agendas. Critics blame consensus decision making for contributing to the unnecessarily grueling and drawn out nature of OWS meetings, and a serious impediment towards growing the movement beyond activist circles.

It is with the intent of opening up the debate around one of the most contentious issues within organizing the Occupy Wall Street community, that we are publishing a serious of articles exploring points and counterpoints on the limits, perils, and need for consensus as a decision making philosophy within the future of OWS. Please share widely, please contribute, and above all, please keep organizing, in whichever model most appeals to your organizing group.

We have global unfettered capitalism to defeat, and that is going to be much harder to fight, if we are fighting over the model with which to organize.



Read the Rules
[-] 4 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

Ok,so "What the Heck is a Bailout ?" : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwen2OoXLs0 & further to this important News-Post and the superb video, please also consider :

Finally, yes that "We have global unfettered capitalism to defeat, and that is going to be much harder to fight, if we are fighting over the model with which to organize."Ergo 'CONDENSE THE CONSENSE' and start to initiate many more actions & 'Situationist Pranks' please !!!

facta non verba ...

[-] 1 points by Kavatz (464) from Edmonton, AB 10 years ago

There's a great Alternative Radio podcast download available free right now with Chomsky. Just an interview, but it fits right in. About Adam Smith, etc. I think it's called "Masters of the Human Race" or something.

You're familiar with Alternative Radio, I imagine?

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

Noam Chomsky on Adam Smith & 'Invisible Hand' :

ad iudicium ...

[-] -3 points by Ackhuman (-88) from Fairfax, VA 10 years ago

"In 1649, a group of English communists"

Okay, I'm done reading.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

A soft head & a hard heart are a bad combo, maan :-( Harden your head & soften your heart and remind yourself (learn?) what OWS is about & so right BAckatUsoCalledhuman :

"Thought debtor prison ended in the 18th century? Think again." Or even just think at all !! ~{:-)

multum in parvo ...

[-] 1 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 10 years ago

Technically these aren't debts, they are unpaid fines, and this is called "contempt of court."

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

"Technically" you may have a point but a wider point of 'Indentured Debt Bondage Within Existing Wage Slavery', was what I was trying to make, so I shall use a sledgehammer to crack the nut here :

This Is Why We Are Here ! This Is What It's All About !! O.W.S. !!!

radix omnium malorum est cupiditas ...

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

"Financial Crime" and A Deep Recommendation @ all :

Financial Crime - of, by, and for our Predatory Capitalists.

e tenebris, lux ...

[-] -1 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 10 years ago

Ok, I'll buy that... you do take Visa right?

[-] -2 points by Ackhuman (-88) from Fairfax, VA 10 years ago

Why is this being downrated? Communism didn't exist until the 19th century. It had nothing to do with England. If you're going to write about history, don't make shit up.

Commons and communism are two different things. Eat me.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

"Communism" - Discombobulism !!! These are trigger words for 'brain freeze' in The U$A !! Read the Thomas Hedges article in full & get back with something vaguely sensible - please ! In the mean time :

e tenebris, lux ...

[-] 3 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 10 years ago

I believe that OWS should follow the lead of the many affinity groups who have adopted a modified version of the consensus model.

Although I understand the benefits of reaching a unanimous or near unanimous decision, the downside is there is too much time involved in reaching decisions

The time lost would be better spent in taking actions...getting things done

So I would agree with shadz66, and also say "CONDENSE THE CONSENSE."

Hence I would be in favor of a 70-80% majority


[-] 2 points by polarbear (8) 10 years ago

Consensus is NOT about everybody getting exactly what they want. It's about collectively coming up with a course of action in which everyone's concerns are heard and considered and in which everyone is willing to participate.

It should be up to the people who are willing to participate in the decision making process to determine what the rules for that process look like. If the formal rules of that process vary from one meeting to the next, that's okay. The rules by which we work together are not the means to an end, they ARE the end we are striving for.

But, we MUST keep in mind what it means to create an inclusive environment for decision making: that not everyone can be physically present at every GA they'd like to participate in, that not everyone can sit on the ground for long periods of time, that some of us have short attention spans or other physical/mental/emotional constraints, that some of us don't have internet access or email or transportation.

And, we can not forget that Inclusive decision making demands radical trust! That means we have to build community. There is simply no "process" that will take the place of this tedious, painful, humiliating, and messy work.

[-] 1 points by polarbear (8) 10 years ago

Oh, and we can't forget that some of us have small children, too. How we accommodate the participation of people with different sets of needs into the decision making process reflects our willingness to create an inclusive environment.

[-] 2 points by LYraSilvertongue (4) 10 years ago

ps. why i say that it builds true cohesion... because IGNORING certain people because they are different as other methods propose does not actually bring them into cohesion with the group. IT leaves them OUT.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

bipolar are people too

[-] 2 points by penguento (362) 10 years ago

You pose a fair question, and so a fair answer is warranted. As a preamble, I'll note that I have reviewed some of the other comments to this post, and I'm disappointed to see how few of them actually attempt to respond in a substantive way to the very important question you pose. However, that aside, I think there's a lot to be discussed about the notion of horizontal, consensus-driven decision-making.

I think that it's worth starting out by considering consensus-driven organizations that have been successful in the past. I think that if you consider them, you'll see that they share certain characteristics:

First, they tend to be small. They are typically religious or socio-political groups with a small number of members, such that it's possible to sit there and listen to every opinion on every topic prior to making a decision. As you have discovered, if you increase the number of people involved in the process, the number of opinions that must be listened to on each and every topic rises quite dramatically, and the resulting decision process is dragged out to the point where decision-making becomes difficult or impossible.

This points to the first fundamental flaw in consensus-driven decision-making: it is not a scalable process. It works well with a small number of people, but as the number of people involved in the process increases, it becomes geometrically more cumbersome. You have yourselves encountered this process in meetings with a few dozen people. Scale it up to a small town of a few thousand – how much worse will it be there? What about a city of 100,000? Can you really expect to listen to the opinions of all 10,000 or hundred thousand? Can you really make timely decisions if you try to do so? And what if you try to scale this solution across a geographically broad area? How can you possibly listen to all the opinions rendered and resolve every conflict amongst this large group of people in anything approaching a reasonable period of time? And of course, all of this assumes that all opinions rendered and all disagreements discussed are honest and legitimate. Which brings us to point number two.

Your consensus model assumes that everyone is a good actor and everyone has good intentions and no one is trying to sabotage or co-opt the process. You have found out that this is not so. You have also found out that not every opinion is a valuable or useful opinion. You have also found out that lots of people just like to argue or hear themselves talk. I'm aware of cases where OWS meetings were brought to their knees by people who were clearly mentally ill or otherwise completely not in touch with the process you intended. Your model is defenseless against all of this because of its assumption that everyone is equally honest and correct and right and valuable. However noble all of this may be, the fact of the matter is, that it completely hobbles your ability to make any useful decisions. And in the real world, you will be called upon to make real decisions, quickly.

I will observe next that successful consensus-driven organizations start out with a membership that already has a high degree of what in the military is called unit cohesion. That is to say, that the members already identify with each other as a social unit, and have common values with respect to social mores, political mores and other important values. This has the effect of minimizing trivial disagreements and making consensus more efficient. The problem with a consensus-driven organization that includes the larger community is that this unit cohesion is not present, and the pre-existing consensus with respect to important values is not there. Therefore, consensus is stalled because many more disagreements arise than would otherwise be the case; and since there is no commonly shared set of values, the fundamental basis for those disagreements tends to be much more intractable and therefore less resolvable.

Next, your process is by its nature slow, very, very slow. In the real world, many decisions must be made quickly, and delay is fatal. Your process is inherently hobbled by the fact that every slight disagreement must be worked through ad nauseam, and everyone has a veto power; which effectively prevents you from making any meaningful decision at all in the many cases where a fast decision is absolutely required: natural catastrophes, public safety emergencies, wars, and in more mundane settings, business decisions and public welfare decisions of all kinds, which arise, not only every day, but multiple times every day. That is why in even the most democratic of societies, many decision-making processes are delegated to bureaucrats who are empowered to make decisions on the spot. You simply do not have time to convene a public assembly and debate every fucking detail. Your process would doom any large or complex organization of any kind, public or private.

Next, your process fails to take into account the fact that many, perhaps most, people like to have leaders. And, some people like to lead. And not all of them are nice and well-meaning, like you. In the complete power vacuum that you contemplate, de facto leaders will arise, and they will gather supporters around them who will form factions. Those factions will attempt to subvert your process, and at times, perhaps all of the time, they will succeed. Since you have no process in place for controlling them, and you yourselves have no organized faction, you will be effectively powerless to stop them from doing this. So, sooner or later, they will take working control of what's going on. Your working assumption, whether you care to acknowledge it or not, is that such people do not exist, or that they will somehow not infiltrate your organization. If this is what you think, you’re kidding yourselves. It's worth bearing in mind in respect of this that the United States Constitution was constructed not to place people in power, but to control them and limit their power. It’s also worth bearing in mind the general course of human history – power vacuums inevitably lead to the rise of a strongman.

So, I think that on many levels, a large-scale, purely consensus driven organization is unworkable. What that means is that OWS must decide what it's going to be. If it is content to be a very small organization of like-minded people, with no intention of a larger scale collaboration, then it can be a purely consensus organization. If it is to be larger, it must necessarily migrate to some other model of representative democracy. I am personally of the opinion that you cannot have a purely consensus driven organization with more than a few dozen members.

[-] 2 points by momono (2) 10 years ago

Who wants to get hung up on bureaucracy? Decisions need to be well-thought-out in order to have value into the future, but if it takes too long to make them then you lose your momentum and people jump ship out of boredom. No question that people here are committed... but to keep the ENERGY moving FORWARD, 70% or so is acceptable for most decisions and a consensus for the most important.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 10 years ago

Organizing should be based on libertarian socialist principles, with direct participation and democratic decision-making. Libertarian Socialism is about building democracy from below, with non-hierarchical structures:


[-] 0 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 10 years ago

Shut up and bow down to Democrats and Republicans!! Top-down is the way to go.

With decision making, with bailouts, with just about everything.

Bottom up is for fools!!!!!!!

[-] -2 points by MarxistHypocrisy101 (2) 10 years ago

Socialism has never, and will never be conducive to building democracy. Socialism only leads to totalitarianism.

[-] 2 points by EdgeBender (17) 10 years ago

Is it possible to meaningfully suggest that you do not already see the solutions you know are right because of at least the following 2 things~ First, when with the conditions in which you as a group are working to reach some conclusion, the effort is flawed by definition whenever the conditions within which you are seeking to make the choice are as wholly unacceptable as they have been for all of Occupy from its inception. Second, the effort is further flawed by definition whenever all your choice about what you may or must focus on as the list of choices to be made is not within your ability or control to define. Said another way, you are not able to address the meaningful questions the responses to which you care about the most because the condition of the circumstances is such that you are so blocked in that you can never get to those questions. Both of these conditions are accomplish with intent by those you are pitted against. The first task there is to accomplish that remains undone within this framework can be described, just for one example, as everything on Michael Moore's agenda that he could never get corporate front office help with.

It's necessary to bring to an honest indoor conference, all those who hold what so many call the "power." Today still, apparently, those who hold the keys to the kingdom won't come to the table and persist in doing all possible to prevent that, and work to prevent you even from making that your own priority. They persist at this because they know you are right and they fear loss. They'll make you pay your college tuition before admitting you have any valid upset it's right to consider. After you've paid that, they'll have some other barrier, always to avert all conversation, even merely conversation for possibility. These conditions are the voices of a fear of the unknown. The 1% can be empathized with for their fear, but they are voices of the established elderly and their progeny. They fail still to see or accept that your agenda is one that by definition averts harm for all. If all involved could see that, it could be possible to consciously design to that. The 1% fear a threat. But the threat is their own.

Do you catch my drift. Consensus is not the question. Getting to the indoor all day Saturday table is.

[-] 2 points by nrainer (2) from Tyler, TX 10 years ago

Keep going guys, just keep going. I love the horizontal and consensus model. True debate takes time and is difficult. Remember as we expose corruption, to continue coming up with great ideas for solutions, like Sandy relief. Carry on soldiers, carry on! :)

[-] 3 points by inclusionman (7064) 10 years ago

All opinions must be heard, compromise should be sought, but when it is time to decide we should accept majority rules. 50 +1.

Those not in agreement must find satisfaction in some other actions we take, perhaps some compromises can help. But to expect 100% of any group to agree is not possible.

And insisting on 100% agreement (even 90%) allows our enemies (law enforcement infiltrators, or corpoRATists) too much power to block important actions.

We will evolve. Consensus will have to be a big part ofthat evolution.

[-] 1 points by polarbear (8) 10 years ago

Two questions:

1- If the infiltraitors and corpoRATists can hijack the 100% or 90% consensus process, what makes you think they can't hijack a 50% + 1 process? 2- What if there is 1% or 10% or 49% of the group that have legitimate objections to what the 51% want to happen? Isn't it worth seeking a more agreeable solution? Not talking about bankers or homeland security undercovers but our comrades in the struggle. What amount of inconvenience are we willing to subject ourselves to in order to address their concerns?

[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 10 years ago

I never said a 50 +1 approach would prevent 'bad faith efforts' to block decisions. I do not think it will, but the likelihood falls exponentially.

All opinions must be hard. compromise will necessary with the 70% solution they appear to have settled on.

The most agreeable solution is obviously why we are addressing this issue, and the discussion that leads to any vote will facilitate the most agreeable solution.

[-] -3 points by russpears (73) from Montclair, NJ 10 years ago

I do like an approval of 90% or a solution that negates the concerns of desenters.

[-] 4 points by inclusionman (7064) 10 years ago

If we MUST get 90% of participants to approve an action it becomes too easy for out enemies (law enforcement infiltrators, corpoRATists) to block our efforts.

50 +1 is good.

[-] 0 points by engineer4 (331) 10 years ago

50+1 does not force compromise which is sorely lacking today.

[-] 2 points by inclusionman (7064) 10 years ago

Why not? 1st I suppose I look at it like "require, or encourage compromise" And if you have a group of 100 people, you can easily have as many opinions. Compromise is absolutely required to get to 51 votes.

I mean, unless YOU think there are only 2 opinions (we HAVE been conditioned so) obviously 51 requires some compromise.


[-] -1 points by engineer4 (331) 10 years ago

Sure there are or could be lots of opinions. Eventually these get into some form of choices, be it two, three or more. But eventually the majority will rule the minority on most things. Yet on the other side, I do not believe a consensus process alone would accomplish anything either. Pleasing 100% is not a practical method of governing or even making decisions. We all would like to believe that we would act for the good or betterment of the whole, but human nature (emotion) would prevent that from happening. Sometimes the choices are not that simple or defined. Some type of hybrid process is required. Forget the conspiracy nonsense.

[-] 4 points by inclusionman (7064) 10 years ago

"hybrid process"? what do you mean?

"forget conspiracy nonsense"? What conspiracy?

[-] -1 points by engineer4 (331) 10 years ago

A hybrid would be using some existing and some new process together to make something better than what we currently have or are proposing. As for CT, you mentioned infiltrators, enemies, etc. forget that! That is an excuse not to do or try something. Opposing views are reality. Remember that you could be in the minority view on some things, so you must accept that.

[-] 3 points by inclusionman (7064) 10 years ago

I know what hybrid means but thanks for the dictionary service. LOL I suppose it would be more valuable if you could tell me the type of hybrid system YOU support. But I guess you don't have to.

I do not think acknowledging the infiltration of non Occupy supporters in our meetings is a conspiracy theory. And I certainly don't think we should ignore the possibility and pretend it doesn't happen.

[-] 0 points by engineer4 (331) 10 years ago

Not sure why you asked about hybrid the way you did. But at this moment it is only a suggestion, would have to explore what parts serve as a possible solution. But let's suppose that "others" are present at a meeting. Would it not be the same as an opposing viewpoint? You would still have to deal with it. That needs to be part of the solution. Otherwise, anyone with an opposing view could be labeled as an "other". One can not assume that everyone at a meeting is of the same opinion or even the same general view. As you say: 100 people, many opinions. Mix in a little emotion and you reach an impass rather quickly.

[-] 3 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 10 years ago

To your question, " how do we prevent "faction rule," I'd suggest reading Madison's memoirs.

You have to remember, back then, the nation was divided by geography so the factions were districts ,regions and states, each having their own set of issues and interests.

Madison believed that a big nation with multiple factions would help balance all the different factions, but because now people with similar Ideas are able to network and lobby their government, our Republic is beholden to the two factions, business and government. I say the factions should have to lobby the people through a campaign; say through

Proportional Representation. Now in a highly connected world it seems more in line with Madison's view of our Republic.

[-] 1 points by engineer4 (331) 10 years ago

Thanks for the recommendation. I enjoy reading historical writings and have read numerous papers of our founding fathers.

[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 10 years ago

You are correct no need to label differing opinions as enemies. Perfectly acceptable to deal with all opinions fairly.

I'm simply saying I prefer a 50% +1 model in order to facilitate functionality.

"Not sure why you asked about hybrid"? because you said "Some type of hybrid process is required" Thats why I asked.

[-] 1 points by engineer4 (331) 10 years ago

I agree that functionality is paramount, but have concerns about 50+1 becoming the efficient over fair process. But that is the dilemma.

[-] 2 points by inclusionman (7064) 10 years ago

Well the founders used the 50 +1 rule pretty much except for certain more important things which require 2/3 of 3/5th. I've been disappointed with the abuse/misuse/overuse of the filibuster so that should be a good example of the kind of obstruction we could be subjected to by a small group.

[-] 2 points by inclusionman (7064) 10 years ago

Indeed that IS the dilemma. And I recognize my suggestion is the bare minimum and at one end of the spectrum, Where they land hopefully will serve for fair, reasonable, thorough but efficient model.

[-] 0 points by engineer4 (331) 10 years ago

So maybe the question is: how do we prevent "faction rule". How do we insure the value of the individual vs the group. How do we prevent the will of the few over the will of the many. Only in understanding these and other similar questions can solutions be created. The founding fathers did a pretty fair job when they wrote the constitution. We can only hope to be better.

[-] 1 points by FluxRostrum (4) 10 years ago

Consensus is a SKILL LEARN HOW to agree and how to handle blocks in this video http://fluxview.com/USA/Original-deProgramming/Tools-Movement-Leaders-Lisa-Fithian-OWS-Facilitator-Workshop

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 10 years ago

Since when has "How we decide", ever effected "What we decide"?

What does "consensus or not consensus" have to do with money, or the economy?

The debate should be about the functions of government and NOT the functions of the economy.....

Capitalism and Socialism are equally as bad and neither will achieve a desired result.

[-] 1 points by LYraSilvertongue (4) 10 years ago

okay, I think that the modified concensus that we use in our occupy is very workable. Using a stack speeds up the process, as does setting time limits on talking Periodically reminding each other the point and providing people with logical fallacies ans reminding them before every meeting the point of being respectful and is also helpful. Some people have more leadership qualities than others, this is fine. What would not be fine is any method that sets them as more important then everyone else. IT is not true that no large scale group has not used this method. Many Huge tribes use different versions and have used different versions versions of this process in the past as well as Starhawk's. IF there is a time limit on how long people can talk, no one can confiscate the process. It is also important hat everyone understands the seriousness of opposing consensus and that it means you are willing to WALK away over it. IN my experiance ,this stops grandstanding. IN modified consensus only affinity groups can bock or and offer an alternative. Also, having someone who keeps track of if the procedings have been derailed from respectful logcial honsety, and has been put in charge of stopping or changing the meeting, keeps people from breaking into subunits that are fighting I believe that modified consenus addreses all of the potential problems COnsensus when used correctly keeps us working within a non fear based paradigm. IT is at copmlete odds with teh power over others mind set that our cuture pirmarily operates under. When it is running correctly is the bset way a group can build true cohesion, communitty, and heathy non destructive growth. Perhaps more OCcupys' should us modified consensus and read this. http://www.starhawk.org/Empowerment_Five-Fold-Path.pdf

[-] 1 points by LYraSilvertongue (4) 10 years ago

thanks i wonder where my paragraphs went

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

paragraphs can be made with double line breaks

[-] 1 points by anOPENear (1) from Winston-Salem, NC 10 years ago

parliamentary procedure? everyone gets a chance to speak? no bullying? no shouting-down the opposition? chances to LISTEN? L-I-S-T-E-N? Learn is spelled F-A-I-L Are you willing to learn?


[-] 1 points by toobighasfailed (117) 10 years ago

I'm curious what the consensus here might be about Matt Taibbi's assertion in last Thursday's AMA on Reddit. There he said:

"Breaking up the banks is the big thing. That should be the Holy Grail of activist goals. Everything flows from the TBTF problem. If that can be accomplished, we're off and running. And it's not farfetched. There are a lot of people even in DC coming around to the idea."

Do you think there's a consensus in OWS to make this a focus?

[-] 3 points by imagine40 (383) 10 years ago

I can agree on a focus on that important valuable goal.

I do not think it is more important than job creation (punishing outsourcing), or implementing a more progressive tax system (raising wealthy taxes), or creating a single payer health care system that cuts costs for individual working/middle class Americans, or increasing wages,

[+] -5 points by Ackhuman (-88) from Fairfax, VA 10 years ago

Job creation is a fantasy.


I've said it before and I'll say it again: Why do you think the slave masters so strongly support job creation? It's exactly the way to keep the status quo.

[-] 3 points by imagine40 (383) 10 years ago

I disagree. Good paying Job creation needs to be our first priority.
And slave masters (Corp oligarchs) do NOT strongly support that goal. They prefer outsourcing and min wage jobs.

[-] 3 points by imagine40 (383) 10 years ago

Romney? Are you joking? The election was over almost 5 months ago.

Your guy got his lazy plutocrat ass beat like an old salvation army drum!

Wake up and smell the coffee.

[+] -4 points by Ackhuman (-88) from Fairfax, VA 10 years ago

I posted Obama and Romney.

Why are you calling him "my guy"? I'm fucking anarchist you dumb tit.

[-] 3 points by imagine40 (383) 10 years ago

I disagree!

Fuck you too!

[-] -2 points by Ackhuman (-88) from Fairfax, VA 10 years ago

You disagree...that I'm an anarchist?

[-] 2 points by imagine40 (383) 10 years ago

Yeah. But I should say also. I don't give a fuck what you are, much less what you claim you are.

What your comments show you to be, is overly negative, defeatist, and insulting. Of course we must push for more good paying jobs.

Giving up is not an option. and your negativism is absolutely WRONG, and poisonous to the important work ahead.

[-] -3 points by Ackhuman (-88) from Fairfax, VA 10 years ago

Are you and repubsRtheprob like, in the same room or something?

Jobs are not the answer. Building a new society that does not rely on jobs is. Jobs are a tool of slavery. Work is a tool of freedom. You advocate jobs and slavery, and I advocate work and freedom.

[-] 3 points by imagine40 (383) 10 years ago

One day we WILL have a society without jobs or money. Good luck implementing that. I support that ideal.

In the meantime, the in between time I advocate for the poorest among us. And jobs without a doubt are absolutely necessary.

Nothing you want will happen if you continue insulting everyone who disagrees. You need to get a grip. And dig yourself.

[-] -3 points by Ackhuman (-88) from Fairfax, VA 10 years ago

Insults, like

"Romney? Are you joking? The election was over almost 5 months ago.

Your guy got his lazy plutocrat ass beat like an old salvation army drum!

Wake up and smell the coffee."


"What your comments show you to be, is overly negative, defeatist, and insulting."

I support positive change NOW. What you, and the other advocates for jobs, support is doing exactly the same thing until "the right time" comes up, and THEN you'll change your ways. What I and others who I'm involved with are saying is, STOP WASTING YOUR TIME, because the "future" society is actually possible in the present.

[+] -5 points by Ackhuman (-88) from Fairfax, VA 10 years ago

Yeah, that's why every CSR propaganda ad includes the words "growth" and "jobs".

There are no more jobs to be created because all the existing niches have been filled up, and people's capacity to want more stuff has been sated (except the extremely rich, of course). All the "growth" that's taking place today is either in developing countries, which, if left unchecked, will destroy the ecosystem, or is a result of psychological trickery by the demand-creation engine in the first world (aka advertising, marketing, and intellectual property).

Basically what you're saying is, there's an inequality and deprivation problem, society is being controlled by the banks, so let's make more people work, but make sure they get slightly more money.

If people with "good paying jobs" existed before, how do you think the system ended up the way it is today? Because that's not a solution, and never will be.

The problem isn't that people's jobs don't pay well enough, it's that we expect people to work for things that we literally throw away otherwise. The problem isn't the lack of jobs, it's an excess of how important we consider them. One person today can do the work of 10,000 a century ago. Do you seriously think we need MORE JOBS?

[-] 3 points by imagine40 (383) 10 years ago

You are absolutely wrong on every point you made. In fact your comment is entirely ridiculous.

You do not HAVE to respond (but you may) because I can't take you seriously.


[-] 3 points by imagine40 (383) 10 years ago

Oh well I guess you're right no more good jobs will be created. Might as well give up and surrender to the inevitable chaos and destitution to come.


[+] -5 points by Ackhuman (-88) from Fairfax, VA 10 years ago

I'm not the one that thinks job creation is the only way to solve all our problems. You can certainly throw your hands up, I don't care. I've been planning for two years now to spend the rest of my life in poverty, but that doesn't mean I'm giving up, because I'm not so feeble and narrowminded to think that getting money is the only way to have a good life.

If anything, people like you are exactly the problem with society. People who think the best way forward is backwards.

P.S. why don't you get more of your friends to downrate me, I'm obviously trolling, what with all the evidence and reasoning. I thought this board would be conducive to good discussion, instead posts like mine get downrated and shit like "You are absolutely wrong on every point you made." gets upvoted.

Edit 2: Oh cool, downvoted within 2 minutes. This place rules.

[-] 2 points by imagine40 (383) 10 years ago

I think the best way forward is lifting all the poor out of poverty, I haven't resigned myself or others a life of poverty.

Don't give up. Jobs WILL be created.

Maybe if you had a more positive disposition?

[-] -2 points by Ackhuman (-88) from Fairfax, VA 10 years ago

Yes, happy thoughts and feelings will make economic realities change for the whole world.

When I say "poverty", I mean monetary poverty. Since you obviously aren't very good at reading:

"I'm not so feeble and narrowminded to think that getting money is the only way to have a good life."

I am going to stay at the same level of income for most of my life, while my standard of living, and ability to improve it, is going to continue to increase. It's called doing things yourself, and helping your friends, rather than relying on handouts from the rich. I have a positive disposition. You are the one that wants to trap everyone in a cage of having to work for money.

[-] 2 points by imagine40 (383) 10 years ago

"handouts from the rich"? There it is. Your posture is uncovered. OWS is NOT about handouts. Anarchists want economic equity/justice.

WE want our money BACK from the plutocrat banksters that have stolen it through purchasing the peoples govt.

So it ain't happy thoughts that will achieve this. It is years of hard work, on the street, in the voting booth, on the phone, on the internet and it is certainly not gonna happen if we listen to your "resigned to a life of poverty" negativity.


[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

taking control of the banks would be more useful

[-] 1 points by elf3 (4203) 10 years ago


Reminds me of group think ...I don't like it also I'm confused we've all already decided we want monetary influence out of politics / government so what the heck more do we need to conceed on? Get some really good eloquent speakers who know all the ins and outs of this stuff and get them in view speaking for us let's get some leaders to represent the one thing we all agree on the purpose of this whole damn protest ....

Deadly Monopolies by Harriet Washington, Chris Hedges, etc. Authors who have written about and studied the subject are a good place to start.

[-] 1 points by peacehurricane (293) 10 years ago

The process was hijacked from birth as a means of this movement. I attempted to participate with process on 3 occasions and finally left in tears because it is so stupid I am not in kindergarten and it is a disgrace to intelligent minds "mike check" is f-ing stupid.

[-] 1 points by Kidipede (2) 10 years ago

For me consensus stopped working when people began to use it to as a tool of coercion. The answer to not agreeing with the group shouldn't be blocking any action; it should be refusing to take part in the action. The rest of the people can then choose whether to adapt their proposal, or do their action without the dissenters. Consensus should be about specific actions, not about general principles, or again it becomes coercive. There's no need to agree on principles, only on actions.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 10 years ago

Consensus stopped working for you when you lost the power to decide for others.

Consensus is meant to be a check on the ignorant.

Means and Ends are inseperable. Principles=Actions.

[+] -4 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 10 years ago

Then what process would you suggest for dealing with principles?

[-] 1 points by Kidipede (2) 10 years ago

No process. Let people make up their own mind on principles. What does it matter, if someone's principles differ from yours, if they agree to work with you on an action?

[-] 1 points by epochsentinel (1) 10 years ago

I lost complete interest in the Occupy movement due to the rampant infighting over-structure and goals, we need up our social media effort with a popular rebranding of the occupy movement with proposals on fixing American electoral process and corruption.

We cannot succeed without the backing and influence of academics and intellectuals, they influence many aspects of our society from innovation to cultural and they have access to influential minds. We have the correct motives and cause to hold influence in shaping policy moving forward, if we're able to remarket and remobilize the same inspired individuals that join Occupy Wall St. in its infancy. "

As a movement we cannot focus on retribution for crimes in the 2008 crisis, it's been 5 years and the fire is long lost. I think this is good for our movement. We are on the verge of another boom and no one is thinking about the trap door. We need to push on Environmental Technology, Internet openness for democratic and economic reasons (telecom corruption), and Space exploration to inspire a human enterprise that can unite and prevent the internal-conflict that allowed the 99% to lose it's foothold in government

[-] 3 points by peacehurricane (293) 10 years ago

If you lost interest why are you here? There is no structure, as should be so again success it was intent. We are what we make of ourselves. I have made proposals and they are ignored. We have success infinite in reach and need no certain entity to achieve. Space explorations have come to us no need spend more billions to get boom boom. As long as we have not closed down WDC there is going to be conflict due to it's attempted hostage hold through $ on our free country.

[-] 1 points by WillyWorker (1) 10 years ago

Some disappointment is natural and agreement is hard to achieve when complex decisions are needed and resources are low.

Rather than knock OWS perhaps a little time is needed to get charged again on a path that brings some achievement.

OWS is the first meaningful counter to the greed of Capitalism. It needs more and more followers, Knocking it plays into the 1% hands.

Keep with it and keep up the protest.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

i lost interest because the questions have been asked

and the answers sound

i get tired of repeating them

[-] 0 points by cJessgo (729) from Port Jervis, PA 10 years ago

Boom or bubble? Please explain what boom?

[-] 0 points by DSamms (-294) 10 years ago

"We are on the verge of another boom."

Please elaborate...

[-] 0 points by rioguzman (12) 10 years ago

The real obstacle for the occupy movement is that it doesn't face the fact that there is overwhelming evidence that 9/11 was an inside job. "May the odds be ever in your favor."

[-] 0 points by TheMelodicInduction (6) 10 years ago

The modified 9/10 model prevents any minority from holding the process hostage. Also, the length & effort of assemblies is trivial compared to the effectiveness of our structure. We need to focus much more on our cause than on restructuring.

[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 10 years ago

I think full consensus is the nobler mission but it was precisely this that led to political factions, schism, the birth of political parties, and our representative government.

[-] 1 points by polarbear (8) 10 years ago

disagree ^, it was geographic distance that led to representative government

[-] 1 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 10 years ago

No... the geographic distance led to the creation of state government.

[-] 0 points by madeofpeople (0) from Brooklyn, NY 10 years ago

Consensus is a tool.

How one uses it is very important.... Consensus in every decision is absurd...

Consensus about long-term ideas 'I consent to so having the communities trust in handling XYZ is much more manageable.

Consensus in small groups is much more manageable.

For us to have tried for Unanimity or 90% or nothing gets done, and a single block can in cases stop everything set up OUR consensus model for failure.

Once the failures of our consensus model were clear, WE collectively failed to amend it or experiment with other, perhaps better functioning models...

For us to say 'our horribly flawed experiment with consensus failed' is a valid point. To say "consensus doesn't work" based on one flawed experiment is deluded and a testament to our poor training, and desire for immediate results (shit we didnt deeply transform our internal culture sufficiently in three months, well fuck it lets give up) is a symptom of our own entrenchment in capitals desire for efficiency, results and impatience. We failed to water the 'blossom of consensus' we failed to set up the proper conditions for its growth and now were blaming it.

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 10 years ago

Consensus works at the individual level. Only when individuals rule themselves, instead of the community(an oligarchy) ruling the individuals.

Consensus has failed in you people's minds because you lose power over others.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

we all wear clothes in public

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 10 years ago

I dont 'war' anything in public or otherwise.


[-] 0 points by cliberal (0) from Baraboo, WI 10 years ago

Methods of decision making will not be helpful, unless you agree on your core principles.

Unless you choose to adhere to the laws of nature, respecting individual liberty, you will fall victim to controlled majority. The "democracy" of majority rule, is just another kind of tyranny. What works is freedom, based on the protection of our unalienable rights.

There is only one direction to go, from freedom: enslavement. That is what collectivism looks like.

[-] 0 points by russpears (73) from Montclair, NJ 10 years ago

Philosophical questions-if done right, should leave you with a since of humility and it can free you up from the many narratives that both enable and constrain a discussion on any one topic.

A Non-Aggression Principle such that “the initiation of force or compulsion must be forever banned from human relationships” This is quite useful for a Consensus model for decision making and is important if democratic decisions are valued. Another idea of “Responsible Citizenship” can help. Here our effects on others must be remedied within our economic system. Here you are not free to smoke, trade or consume without accounting for its affects on others. I can’t agree to a system that exploits workers in third world countries so I can buy $3 shirt and so a universal livable wage is a necessary condition. I can’t smoke anywhere I want or pollute in any way that can’t be addressed with technology and it’s funding-and so a pack of cigarettes should costs X amount of dollars to negate the social affects and I can't smoke wherever I want. If creating safe nuclear technology is impossible then we must not normalize it as a source of energy. Technology will allow us to move forward on any issue and this will happen faster if we have a bit more humility.

With these criteria we should find less contention in general assemblies and afford more experimentation that can tease out the best effects we are after.

[-] 0 points by nrainer (2) from Tyler, TX 10 years ago

There are enough big hitters we are in consensus on exposing, that we can get this job done. Any academics and influentual minds are certainly welcome to join in support of Occupy. Just one of many examples of how we have been successful in helping grow movements for change... http://www.theecologist.org/how_to_make_a_difference/climate_change_and_energy/1133413/steve_kretzman_we_won_the_keystone_xl_campaign_because_of_nonviolent_protest.html

[-] 0 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 10 years ago

Consensus was a real bitch when all the people involved were occupy supporters. I cannot see how it would work with a real slice of the entire country. Too many people willing to block over things. But....

A mass decentralization would bring communites back together, and I think then it could actually become something useful. Until then, people are simply too disconnected from one another, in their own little worlds, and will simply show up and make havoc.

Btw nice post.

[-] -1 points by oldJohn (-646) 10 years ago

Sadly, this realization that the consensus model is flawed and unworkable comes a little too late. Anti-nuclear activists already figured that out 30 years ago!

This article sums up the problems quite nicely:


[-] -2 points by MisterRight (-2) 10 years ago

Everywhere it has been tried Socialism has failed!

In an Society if you have a "Labor" and a "skill" "to sell" Obviously you "need" a buyer. It has to be "worth" something to someone else!

Socialism robs the person of selling there "labor" to the highest bidder and replaces the potential "buyer" with Plutocratic "Monopoly"