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.
Get a closer look at localized resistance based around ethnic studies, badass kids, border deaths, racist laws & the Derechos Humanos coalition.
The Radical Resistance Tour is an autonomous project by a group of Occupy Wall Street organizers. We're touring the United States and interviewing activists, people participating in direct actions, and people working to create a dual power model. We want to show people who aren't on the ground how people are being directly affected by decisions being made by corporations and governments that put profits over people and the environment. We want to inspire more people to fight back by featuring people who are already fighting back, and hopefully gain some shared wisdom by listening to how others are resisting.
“The Occupy Wall Street movement may have faded from the headlines in the aftermath of the eviction of Zuccotti Park more than a year ago, but the issues that originally sparked it and the activism it inspired remain very much alive.”
This was the opening to a blog post called Who Were the 99 Percent? from co-authors of the recent study Changing The Subject: A Bottom-Up Account of Occupy Wall Street in New York City.
Regrettably, as reported by Allison Kilkenny in the Nation, many in the media have twisted the study’s findings regarding the makeup of OWS by dismissing the movement in an entirely new and spurious way: “this was a damned if they do, damned if they don’t moment for Occupy--they’re either poor, dirty hippies or the sons and daughters of the wealthy elite, but never, ever Americans exercising their First Amendment rights”.
Fortunately, we don’t need outside justification to know that ‘We Are the 99%’, and as the study depicts, nothing will extinguish the flame compelling us to speak out and inspiring us to act.
Stopmotionsolo.tv provides comprehensive coverage of the recent Citizens United wedding, including a brief history of the ruling and a discussion of his concerns about pushing for a constitutional amendment.
Professor Marcuse discusses options in responding to disasters like Sandy, including the wryly titled “Banker’s Socialism”--the “deprivatization of disaster response”--the Private Market Approach and the Equity Approach, which is “using public assistance to ameliorate the damage caused by disaster.”
This campaign to ‘Flip the Debt’ aims to "flip the debate" over the national debt by shifting the focus to the global corporations and super wealthy actually responsible.
Your blood will boil as you watch the numbers tick up on their ingenious online 'Debt Clock' calculating the amount of taxes dodged by corporations every second. Moreover, each tick is reminder to the 1% that “It's time that you paid your damn taxes!”
Occupy These Actions & Events
Saturday, February 9th, 7-9pm Discussion: Energy Extraction and the Keystone XL Pipeline Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen Street
Leading mainstream scientist James Hansen has said if the Keystone XL pipeline proceeds it is “essentially game over for the climate.” Join us for a panel discussion about the Keystone XL pipeline and related energy extraction issues. We will skype in with activists down in Texas and Oklahoma, talk to an organizer who has been working at the Canadian Tar Sands oil extraction sight and with NYC Spectra Pipeline organizers. All proceeds from the night will go directly to the campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. With a continued fundraiser after-party in Brooklyn. Featuring Gay Panic and Glittered and Mauled.
Saturday, February 9th, 4:30PM - 6:30PM Strategic research workshop
Organization of Staff Analysts, 220 East 23rd Street, Suite 707
Join members of NYC Radical Reference for the second in a series of strategic research workshops sponsored by the OWS Labor Outreach Committee. The workshops are open to all. In this event, we will explore what’s behind the legislation and policies that affect our lives as workers, as activists, and as citizens. We will see how to get the goods on candidates, lobbying, and political activity.
Sunday, February 10th, 1:00-4:00pm Occupy the Subways
57th and 7th Avenue F Train Subway
In support of the workers at Golden Farm Market in Kensington Brooklyn, we will be Occupying the Subways beginning at 1pm and meeting the Boycott/Picket of Golden Farm at 2pm and staying there until 4pm.
Monday, February 11th, 6:30pm Movement Mondays
Two Moon Art House and Cafe, 315 4th Avenue, Brooklyn
There are so many people and groups in the Occupy Wall Street ecosystem that are doing fantastic work. We learn about many of these projects as they’re happening or the day after. Let’s find out WHO is doing WHAT actions and events — well ahead of time! We can also serve as a focused incubation chamber for NEW ideas, strategize for the long term, and reflect upon our successes and failures so we can keep building and growing.
Thursday, February 14th, 8:30am-5:30pm Justice for Dennis Flores - Rally at the Court
Brooklyn Criminal Court, 120 Schermerhorn Street
Dennis is a long-standing member of Occupy Sunset Park, as well as community organizer. Dennis Flores was arrested for defending one of the Rent Strikers against an attack by the slumlord’s hired goon. Hard to believe, but he’s actually being taken to trial on utterly ridiculous charges. Show brother Dennis your support! Turn out for a rally the morning of his trial!
Thursday, February 14th, 12:00pm-2:00pm Valentines Day Message to Megabanks: Time to Break Up
NY Public Library, 42nd st. and 5th ave.
Join us to give HSBC, Bank of America and other megabanks Valentine’s Day Break Up Cards. Rally to call for a break up of the megabanks who are Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Jail and simply Too Big.
Saturday, February 16th, 6:30p.m-11:00p.m Hot & Crusty Workers Victory Party
Brecht Forum, 451 West Street
The Hot and Crusty Workers Association invites you to a celebration with food, drink. dancing, live music and great conversation. Bring friends, coworkers, classmates. A voluntary $10 donation is suggested. For more information, call Rosanna at 347-652-5724 or Sándor at 917-520-5368
Saturday, February 16th, 7:00pm-10:00pm Sandy Storyline Fundraiser
Cafe Dancer 96 Orchard Street, New York NY (b/w Broome & Delancey)
Join us for a party and benefit to help raise funds for Sandy Storyline, a participatory documentary project about Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, told through the experiences of community members and volunteers. We are raising money to help support Sandy Storyline's projects, providing media education, community exhibitions and storytelling events for residents in Hurricane Sandy affected areas.
Sunday, February 17th, Noon Rally in DC. Buses Leave NYC at 7am. Forward on Climate Rally
The National Mall, DC - to the White House
Join Occupy Sandy, Occupy the Pipeline, YANA, Rockaway residents and groups from around country for the largest climate rally in the nation's capital. In November, we came together in New York and New Jersey to provide disaster relief. Now we come together to call for real action on Climate Change. The very first step is for President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Sign up here for a bus ticket (reduced fairs and scholarships available). http://f17nycbusbrigade.wordpress.com
Friday February 22nd, 17:30-21:00 Tidal 4 Release
20 Cooper Square
Tidal 4 is being released this Friday evening. Come and pick up your own free copy! It will include original, commissioned contributions from many organizers of Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Sandy and Strike Debt, Collective pieces from the Tidal Team and friends and a Student Movement piece from Free University folks.
Saturday, March 1st and Sunday March 2nd, 12-6pm Occupy Data Hackathon
Cuny Graduate Center, 365 5th Avenue
Data mining and visualization for the 99%. At the event, we’d like to focus on a few new data sets/projects. Occupy Sandy and Aaron Swartz’s work has come up, and generated a lot of interest. Any ideas, data resources you may know of or questions, please let us know: Occupy Data listserve or email@example.com.
Sunday, March 10th, 2pm Unorganized Workers Assembly
Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South
Join the Occupy Your Workplace group for a discussion of strategy and tactics of workplace organizing. We'll have several folks present who have experience as workplace "salts" - workers who get jobs with the aim of organizing. Workers who are curious about organizing, experienced organizers and activists, union members, and all other workers and non workers welcome.
Join us and pack the court on February 6 at 10:00 am, 40 Foley Square, Room 1005. This is a critical step in our case, Hedges v. Obama, and the stakes are high. We need your presence in court to show that Americans care about their civil rights.
Join us in solidarity and support of the named plaintiffs Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Brigitta Jónsdóttir, Jennifer “Tangerine” Bolen, Kai Wargalla, and Alexa O’Brien who are challenging the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act, NDAA, before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
The court is located on 40 Foley Square, NY, NY in room 1505 on the 15th floor. All are welcome.
As individuals, families, and communities, most of us are drowning in debt for the basic things we need to live, including housing, education, and health care. Even those of us who do not have personal debt are affected by predatory lending. Our essential public services are cut because our cities and towns are held hostage by the same big banks that have been bailed out by our government. All of us are outraged that big banks don’t have to pay their debts, but we do.
Debt keeps us isolated, ashamed, and afraid—of becoming homeless, of going hungry, of being crippled or killed by treatable illness, or of being trapped in poverty-level jobs. Those facing foreclosure, medical debt, student debt, or credit card debt feel alone, hounded by debt collectors, and forced into unrewarding work to keep up with payments.
Strike Debt is building a movement to challenge this system while creating alternatives and supporting each other. At the Debtors’ Assembly we will come together as a community and begin to rethink debt, not as an issue of individual shame, but as a political platform for collective resistance and action. Come to the Assembly to learn about tools for escaping the closing walls of debt, to share resources and skills, and to magnify our assembled energy. As we share our experiences we can begin to take back from the financiers what they have taken from us: our freedom and our future.
Debt resistance is just the beginning. Join us as we imagine and create a new world based on the common good, not Wall Street profits.
ORGANIZATION INFO: Strike Debt Bay Area is the local chapter of Strike Debt, an international movement of groups working to build popular resistance to all forms of unjust debt. Strike Debt has organized the Rolling Jubilee, the Debt Resistors Operations Manual, and local debtors’ assemblies. Strike Debt supports the creation of just and sustainable economies, based on mutual aid, common goods, and public affluence. We owe the financial institutions nothing. It is to our friends, families and community that we owe everything.