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Forum Post: A Nice Article Talking About The Early Failure Of Occupy General Assemblies

Posted 11 years ago on March 7, 2013, 10:18 a.m. EST by RogerDonavan (0)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Article: http://creativetimereports.org/author/not-an-alternative/


I'm an anarchist who has been with Occupy since its inception. Justine Tunney recommended an article on her twitter account - https://twitter.com/JustineTunney - that I think we should all read. Her piece on stopping consensus - http://occupywallst.org/article/occupiers-stop-using-consensus/ - was based on it.

I feel David Graeber's response was a quite harsh. http://occupywallst.org/article/david-graeber-some-remarks-consensus/

I met David and Justine at the early stages of Occupy and they are both very intelligent anarchists. However, in this particular case, I must agree with Justine. The general assemblies hurt Occupy more than they helped.

I think we need to support Justine on this one. She took Graeber's response to heart. I don't think he should have printed her name since she wrote her original article anonymously. It was a cheap stab in the back.

Justine, on behalf of many anarchists here in Detroit, we support you! Keep up the good work.


We met during the first week of Occupy. I was the anarchist from Detroit who helped with placing posters.



Read the Rules
[-] 11 points by jart (1186) from New York, NY 11 years ago

Thank you <3

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago


Our goal should be fighting power and injustice, and we should settle for no less than the best tools for the job.

The only significant experimentation we should be doing with process at this time is trying to find ways to use modern technology to make democracy more democratic.

You have my support.

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 11 years ago

I can't claim to know anarchy. I support all political statements including anarchy... I won't stab people in the back. I won't participate in the rough politics we know as democrats & republicans.

Even county politics are dirty.

Problem: politics makes us dumb since controlling info is a strategy. Propaganda is all about making us dumb.

The US Constitution doesn't have checks & balances against PR, or propaganda.

probably neither does Australia or the UK.... or Europe.

[-] 2 points by bensdad (8977) 10 years ago

freedom of speech prevails - fortunately
public figures do have almost no protection from lies -
but that is the price we pay

I see the only solution is using education to teach students to think & reason rather than believe & obey

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 10 years ago

Late Add: was just ruminating that in education as all things in the USA the people in control seem to want to dumb us down and remove deductive thinking, inductive thinking, abductive reasoning, and analogical reasoning.

... because they, the PTB, want to do all the analysis and thinking as Executives, Politicians, Lawyers, Economists for the Government, and as Lobbyist, PACs, Think Tanks,.. and as members of Global Conservative Networks.


3.4 Logical reasoning methods and argumentation 3.4.1 Deductive reasoning
3.4.2 Inductive reasoning
3.4.3 Abductive reasoning
3.4.4 Analogical reasoning
3.4.5 Fallacious reasoning

The Creel Commission was set up to help the Federal Government and the PTB control the people of the USA. (Perhaps that also explains the Warren Commission and the 9-11 Commission)

As Chris Hedges says thinking is a Seditious act.

So K-12 Testing doesn't lead students to deeper understanding of US & World History nor does it incentivize learning logic. But still people say that US Citizens are the most inventive, creative, and thinking work force. So it must be a plan to dumb down the people, the common people.

Look at the loss of investment in US Small Businesses since 2008 which are in fact the heart of the US Economy. Look at the Loss of investment in Job Training since 2008. Look at a US Jobs Program under Obama that never even got off the ground except to save government jobs, teachers, and emergency workers. Look at the Decapitalization of US Manufacturing. Look at the GINI Coefficient and the decline of US Wages. Look at the in sourcing of jobs for illegal immigrants and outsourcing of skilled jobs to other countries.

As you know all of this I am preaching to the Choir. Worker Rights, Labor Rights, Labor Rules, and Work Place Safety were put in place by 1970. So the PTB began a campaign to reduce labor costs, wages & benefits, work place regulations, industrial regulations, ... but also to create conservative institutions, to groom conservative university professors, to take control of the US MEDIA, to entrench conservative Economists in all parts of the system, and to establish conservative Think Tanks to keep repeating simple truisms or clichés that appear conservative, but in fact are oversimplified short criticisms that don't teach, inform, instruct or illuminate anything at all.

We would all be much better off if Conservatives started criticizing themselves. I'm guessing Republicans are all "Yes" men. I'm guessing many who had Progressive Ideals are keeping their mouth shut to keep their job & Career. So maybe that is a New Problem Statement for this long post. Downsizing the power of Executives, so that the Media & Work Force can have an opinion and job options.

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 10 years ago

I support u teaching students as u see fit even if we disagree. people are tough & smart. Look at South America, Central America, & the Caribbean.

I feel that public figures seem protected not only through sovereign immunity from civil suits, but also from collusion of their networks, lazy press, elected officials & appointees.

You speak the truth:

Institutions that teach are invaluable
and so is the internet. How do we influence teaching to prevent us from becoming China with Rote learning?

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 10 years ago

I have been a teacher and am a tutor
we need to put much more emphasis on reasoning and less on memorization
generalized testing - used to judge teachers - is unfair
I would test each student at the beginning of each year and again at t he end - and compare their new results to their initial test

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 10 years ago

I think that is fine. Maybe we don't want' to track students to particular teachers. Many institutions have other adult employees check up on other employees to give them "pass - fail" type evaluations. Experienced union people probably know a better way to use metrics here. Teachers go though a lot of evaluations and training. I might try to get that experience at some point in a foreign country to teach English. I'm a bit afraid of being evaluated and pressured. But maybe when the wages are so low in Third World countries... somehow I can get trained without being abused like over the last 30 years.

Anyway, the student progress is the focus as you say above.

Students should progress each year. If I get training or attend class I should show improvement. It should not be a question. There should be a measurement. Conservatives can call me worthless, untrained, or uneducated. But if I do work for a year, I should either gain experience or improve my education. It should be an objective measurement.

Well... I agree with you. And maybe experience in volunteering should be added into the equation to a teacher's creeds and evaluation too. The damn capitalist and neoliberals seem dead-set on playing us against each other to lower wages, lower reputations, get us fired, take away our benefits, and ... pick winners amongst the executive class.

Maybe that is the thing. People with power over money, loans, and credit get to pick the winners and the losers in our US Systems. Maybe self regulating organizations like school systems and unions can figure out a way to do that if they can put some space between there industry... and the parents, media, and politicians.

Of course this has always been the problem, so I have only restated the problem not suggested any workable solutions. I just think Unions can suggest their own solutions, can regulate themselves, and can improve the process without all the help from people who either don't have experience or who are just trying to win political points.

The people should have the power though, but it is a two edged power. People power can harm students and teachers... and the whole industry through various measures and through teacher evaluation methods. People can help by supporting the teachers, learning more about the teaching process, the school budget process, the government budget process, the political process, and ... by learning the progress of their sons and daughters in school.

[-] 0 points by hamletandcornell (-27) 10 years ago

No worries jart. RogerDonavan and I are Thrasymaque. I enjoyed your articles. Thanks.

[-] 3 points by inclusionman (7064) 11 years ago

The article makes excellent, important points that I (Not at day 1er, maybe day 12er) can corroborate. Process fatigue, fetishness, was a big reason I and many occupy supporters stayed away from the meetings.

Addressing the issues that birthed Occupy should obviously be our 1st priority. And the message of occupy has grown despite the process issues. That is our unique strength, people all over unfamiliar with the process problems have embraced shared goals and flourished.

Our resounding success is measured by the many growing efforts who attach the name 'occupy' and pursue occupy stated goals. Our lasting affect is even beyond 'occupy', we have shown the way forward by standing up to power and NOT submitting. Innumerable like minded groups have watched and learned, have been empowered and encouraged.

It has been barely 1 1/2 years, we ARE growing despite the process problems the article indicates. We ought to resolve the process problems but I am confident the movement to fight the powers the be is so powerful, that the process problems cannot slow our growth.

Can I get consensus on that?

[-] 3 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 11 years ago

I would expect we would agree on some things, disagree on others, nice to see somebody dropping by. The forum has potential far beyond its use.

My brief time at the Phoenix assembly quickly reveled the weakness of 100% consensus. One long time supporter refused to support an otherwise widely supported bank protest, (in concert with a NY led effort), until other long time supporters could return from a absence of a few days. It seemed wrong on so many levels.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 10 years ago

Frankly, I have met neither - but my own experience with consensus in over 100 NYC OWS meetings proves to me that the concept was invented for OWS by the koch brothers

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

" invented for OWS by the koch brothers"


What a troll.

Theres a reason you dont respond to any of us. You have nothing.

[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 10 years ago

I had my experiences with consensus in several forums beyond OWS. I must agree with bensdad on this instance; consensus neuters movements. I'm not sure if it was invented by the Koch Brothers, or weather it was invented specifically for OWS (its been around longer than OWS), but it surely got OWS swimming in mud.If the Kock brother didn't invent it, they must be tickled silly over OWS embracing it.


[-] 1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

I wouldnt lump the entire GA process into the consensus problems. In a lot of ways, the GA's were the most significant aspect of occupy. Providing a platform for the people, finally.

Consensus was a mess, but so was everything else. Lots of first time organizers trying to get it all figured out, and other older ones trying to remain horizontal, all while keeping to a "100% inclusive" outlook.

Thats a damn near impossible situation.

But after talking with many people, it has become clear that all the occupy GA's and camps were probably the best launchpad for further creating that anyone could have ever hoped for. Dealing with those frustrations was a good thing, in the long run.

If we could all go back and do it again, certainly I personally would have done things a bit different.

My biggest regret was not realizing what a special thing it was. It felt like that was going to go on forever. Like there was no way this incredible rush of energy will do anything BUT go forward.

Knowing how things turned out now, many wish they had pushed a bit harder, given it a bit more, I know I do.

Consensus was a bitch, but any type of governing model would have been tough. 100% inclusive, and 100% horizontal= lots of headaches.

[-] -1 points by inclusionman (7064) 11 years ago

Put aside the process fetishness.

The most significant aspect about occupy is the stand against power, corruption, inequity, injustice, and the verbalizing of those problems.

The most important success is the encouragement of people and groups to speak up, the empowering of people/groups to organize (with whatever process they choose), and push many issues to the forefront, and create momentum for progress.

Ga's, consensus, process, was obviously problematic, probably a failure but in the end that failure was inconsequential, because the issues we stand for are being discussed by millions of people and we are witnessing a new birth of dissent that WILL change the world.

So argue for the process if you must. Occupy, our efforts, & like minded groups continue to grow and fight, and succeed.

Can I get consensus on that?

[-] 1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

You can make a stand against power. And if you win, then what? Thats where GA's come in.

Everyone wants to yell "This has to change"...but if they got their chance to finally do, what would they do? There has to be a process.

"the encouragement of people and groups to speak up, the empowering of people/groups to organize (with whatever process they choose), and push many issues to the forefront, and create momentum for progress." --- All of that came directly from the GA. The planning, the organizing, and the discussion. Occupying space and then creating a platform to activate, instead of everyone just casually talking and bitching about it.

Numbers and organization. Occupying space and GAs. Organize, plan, lead into action, then discuss the positives and negatives of what just happened. Not complicated, yet very hard to pull off.

[-] -1 points by inclusionman (7064) 11 years ago

"all of that came from the GA's" What a laugh. This fight has been goin on for a loooooong time. Occupy has come along at the right time. If the ga's were so great they would have been duplicated over and over instead of being shunned and abandoned.

What has been embraced by millions of people and dozens of groups is the issues occupy voices, and the renewed activism of protest, petitions, for progressive solutions.

Ga's need to get their act together if they want to contribute to future progress.

But like most people who support occupy, we don't think about the ga's or the process, or how much consensus. We care about jobs, income equity, prosecution of wall street crimes, ending foreclosures, college access, debt abolishment.

Process fetishness is so tired and unimportant to the movement.

[-] 1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

They were duplicated in every single city in America you clown. Try not to embarrass the site anymore. You have absolutely no clue what you are talking about and it shows.

"But like most people who support occupy, we don't think about the ga's or the process, or how much consensus. We care about jobs, income equity, prosecution of wall street crimes, ending foreclosures, college access, debt abolishment."

You are one dumb son of a bitch. What do you think leads to movement on that shit? People like you parking your ass on a keyboard for months on end?

[-] 0 points by inclusionman (7064) 11 years ago

Then I guess there is no problem with "the process", No debate, no need for change. NOT!!!

You put to much importance on the fuckin beauracracy, To much concern for the process!

Process fetishness is old and tired. issues are what matters.

The Ga's need to get their act together if they want to contribute to future progress.

"embarrass the site"???? Whaaaaat? So I should worry about the "process" and the site.?

THE ISSUES!!!!! You vain, egotistical, misguided little bureaucrat.

You don't even keep track of what's going on in your own towns occupy.

Your full of shit.

[-] 3 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

The issues remain issues until people organize past just talking about them...you should know that by now.

Go organize an action, or something, and then report how you did it with, um... no organizing?

Mocking someone who says organizing is the key, kind of explains it all.

Der der der....

You'RE full of it.

[-] -2 points by inclusionman (7064) 11 years ago

I like organizing. Organizing good. The point is what you suggest is an impediment. Your focus is myopic, and leaves out the issues.

You are suffering from a process fetish. 'sok there are support groups for you now. In fact they are being 'organized' as we speak.

You get to vote too!

[-] 3 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

Everyone knows what the issues are. Theyve been talked to death.

Its time to actually do something about them.

Its time for organizing and action. Not more talking.

[-] 0 points by inclusionman (7064) 11 years ago

I agree. That's why I support the action I see being taken by occupy and dozens of other like minded groups.

Some are focused on the process fetish and just grind down into frustration and inaction.

The Ga's need to get their act together if they want to contribute to future progress.

We are taking action on the issues. Every day. You should pay more attention to my posts I list many every single day. You might've missed it if you were in a meeting.

LOL, But you don't even do THAT do you? You only divide and criticize don't you nabob.? Admit it. You goal IS inaction.

[+] -7 points by josette (-6) 11 years ago

Basically Jart is hated on her own forum. You must have noticed how there haven't been any responses, at all, to your pro Justine Tunney post? She's both feared and hated. Search for 'removed' and 'shadow ban' and 'banned'. That's her heavy hand of censorship.

She wants this forum to reflect her agenda only -- the Wicked Witch of the West and her Flying Monkey Nazi Mods. You should learn not to take everyone at face value.

I hope you see this before the Grym Bytch deletes it.

[-] 4 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 11 years ago

I don't know you, but I've been here for a bit, and I for one am very grateful that someone takes the time to make the forum possible.

[-] 2 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

Once a forum is coded, its pretty much run on cruise control. That being said, if you were really grateful, you would get with the program and realize what this thing is about.

[-] 0 points by factsrfun (8310) from Phoenix, AZ 11 years ago

'get with the program" are we in the marines now?

[-] 3 points by bensdad (8977) 11 years ago

Jart is a gem -
she raked me over the coals once - I stepped barely over a line and we disagreed - SO WHAT!

There is so much BS here and lies and vulgarity and simple pure nastiness.
Some of US need to grow up.

We need to co-operate and build - not attack and accuse each other

[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 11 years ago

You are absolutely wrong about how forum contributors feel about Jart. Obviously you don't speak for anyone but yourself.

My experience is that most of us like her fine, or have no opinion. Even some who have been punished express a positive opinion of her.

Very few actually express dislike. Most appreciate Jarts work creating the forum regardless of any difference of opinions.

And only one or 2 have resorted to the childish personal attacks against her like you.

So try again.